A NEILSTON woman has been dealt another blow as she bids to free her fiancé from an Indian jail.

Yvonne McHugh, 27, had hoped she would be a step closer to being reunited with her partner Billy Irving, 37, who campaigners insist is being detained illegally, following a bail hearing.

However, a bail application scheduled for yesterday (Tuesday, September 27) was not heard after a public prosecutor failed to appear in court.

Now the mother-of-one will have to wait until Thursday, October 6 to find out if anti-piracy seaman Billy will be allowed to return home to their family home and son William after being arrested for alleged firearm offences three years ago.

Yvonne said: “It’s one thing after another. I half expected it. The fact that the public prosecutor didn’t show up – if that happened in this country you would get done with contempt of court.

“For the Foreign Office to say they can’t intervene is a joke when that judicial system isn’t working to their own laws.”

An Indian court ruled Billy and five other former British soldiers had entered the country’s waters with illegal weapons in October 2013.

Though the charges were initially dropped, Indian authorities appealed against the decision.

Billy was subsequently jailed for five years in January in Puzhal Prison after it was deemed the MV Seaman Guard Ohio ship he was deployed on had strayed into Indian waters without sufficient documentation for its guns and ammunition.

Yvonne and the rest of the prisoners’ families have since published what they claim are legal arms licences given to the jailed men by the UK Government.

It is claimed the licences, which included semi-automatic assault rifles exported to Billy’s employer, US maritime security firm AdvanFort, were authorised.

Yvonne has been without her partner for three years and says it never gets any easier.

“It’s just a hard situation. I would live over there if I could so that I could visit Billy every couple of months but that’s just not possible,” she said.

“Our son William just helps me get through day to day and if I gave up I’d be giving up on him, and I’m not going to do that.”