There’s more disappointment for a Chester man sentenced to five years in an Indian prison after a judge refused him bail ahead of an appeal hearing.
Ex-Army sniper Ray Tindall, 40, from The Crescent, Newton , is one of six British men who was working aboard an anti-piracy vessel alleged to have strayed in to Indian waters in October 2013.
Accused of illegally possessing weapons, the men have always protested their innocence but in January were jailed for five years along with the rest of the 35-strong crew.
Mr Tindall is former sergeant with the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and The 1st Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Originally from Hull, he has a young daughter Lyra back in Chester.
The Facebook campaign page dedicated to freeing the men, states: “A few minutes ago the men – who include Ray Tindall from Hull, Nicholas Simpson from Cottingham and Paul Towers from Pocklington, were told the court had rejected their application.
“The court said the arguments for bail would only be heard during the main appeal hearing, scheduled for June. From May 1-31 the courts are closed for summer vacation. The men’s families say they are devastated.”
There have been reports the men are sleeping on concrete floors and living 23 to a cell in the notorious Puzhal jail in the city of Chennai. Mr Tindall had already spent time there during the early stages of the case. Conditions were described at the time as ‘appalling’.
Chester MP Chris Matheson , who is campaigning for his constituent’s release, this week met with Foreign Office officials to ‘see what more can be done’.
“I don’t know what the problem is but I think it’s ridiculous,” commented Mr Matheson, who said of the bail decision: “It’s disappointing. Something is going very badly wrong but we are not going to stop campaigning for Ray.”
Ray got engaged on Skype
The Lancashire Telegraph reports that Mr Tindall got engaged to his girlfriend Jessica Kemp, 37, from Rawtenstall via Skype on New Year’s Eve when there was a feeling the men were about to be acquitted.
Miss Kemp told the newspaper: “I am devastated. When Ray rang me to tell me about the conviction I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. He was crying down the phone and Ray never cries. I could also hear someone wailing down the phone.”