Former soldier from Pocklington goes 621 days without court trial

Paul Towers.
Paul Towers.

The agony goes on for three Yorkshire seamen, including one from Pocklington, who now face trial in India, despite weapons charges being dropped a year ago.

Paul Towers, an ex-member of the Parachute Regiment, from Pocklington; former Army sniper Ray Tindall, from Chester, whose mother Carole Ann Edmonds lives at Keyingham, near Hull and Nicholas Simpson, from Catterick, North Yorkshire, were among 35 crew arrested on the MV Seaman Guard Ohio in October 2013.

The charges, including entering Indian territorial waters and carrying weapons, were quashed by the High Court last July and the men freed.

But security forces, known as Q’ branch, appealed against the decision to the Supreme Court and the men’s passports were not returned.

They will not be released as expected. Instead the Supreme Court Judge in Delhi has referred the case back to the High Court in Chennai and the Magistrate Court in Tuticorin to go to full trial.

Mr Towers said: “Our families are beyond broken, both financially and mentally; to see my wife in tears is heartbreaking, Why would the police verbally threaten to ruin our lives and endeavour to do so?

“Maybe the British and Indian governments can explain. We simply cannot.”

Mr Towers said they had complied with international regulations including maritime firearms competency certificates and criminal records checks but this had been dismissed as worthless outside the UK.