A PENLEY teacher jailed for four years in Japan is to be released on parole next month the Foreign Office has confirmed.
Patrick Loughlin, 34, was working as an English teacher in Kariya, Japan when he was convicted of killing a man during a brawl in 1999.
However, Loughlin has always strenuously denied he was responsible and claims he was falsely convicted after his Japanese lawyer, who could not speak English, wrongly entered a guilty plea on his behalf.
His parents, Rob and Kathleen Loughlin, have been at the forefront of a campaign to win his freedom, and this week they spoke to the Mail of their joy after hearing news their son will be released early next month.
Mrs Loughlin said: 'When the Foreign Office phoned me to say Patrick was being released, Rob and I were over the moon. It's been almost four years of complete hell since he was jailed.
'At the moment, we're not really making any major plans. We just want him to arrive home where we can look after him and give him all the support he needs while he adjusts to normal life again.'
Loughlin moved to Kariya with his Japanese wife, Tae, in 1985. He was drinking in a bar with his friend on the night of the incident, when they were attacked by a number of Japanese youths brandishing weapons.
Loughlin's friend was killed trying to stop the fight, but the former English teacher was subsequently arrested and charged with 'grevious bodily harm leading to death' by the authorities.
However, Loughlin has repeatedly stressed his innocence, and his parents say he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice as he was not given proper legal representation.
They are still fighting to pursue civil proceedings against Patrick's original conviction.
'At the moment we're not really making any plans. We just want him to arrive home where we can look after him and give him all the support he needs.'
Kathleen Loughlin lawyer for negligence.
Mrs Loughlin also claimed her son was beaten by prison guards when he was kept at the Nagoya Detention Centre in Okazaki before starting his sentence.
His parents have also been denied visitation rights as Patrick was placed in solitary confinement.
He was only allowed to receive letters from his family and lawyers and could only write letters, of no more than three A4 sides, once a month.
Since he was jailed, campaigners have fought to bring Mr Loughlin back to the UK.
His supporters set up a website, www.freepatrick.org.uk, which detailed the horrific prison conditions they claim he's been subjected to.
In May last year, an unsuccessful appeal - supported by Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones and Glenys Kinnock MEP - was launched to try and persuade the Japanese to agree to a European Convention ruling on prison transfers that would have allowed Patrick to serve the rest of his sentence in the UK.
Ian Grenfell, manager of pop star Mick Hucknall, also raised thousands of pounds running the New York Marathon to help pay for Loughlin's lawyers.
His appeal against conviction was turned down in October 2001 by the Japanese Supreme Court, although Loughlin's sentence was reduced to two years, nine months.