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Freedom hopes of pilot David Simpson dashed
FRESH hopes that a North Yorkshire pilot jailed in Africa was finally coming home to his family were dramatically dashed last night – moments before he was due to get on a plane back to the UK.
David Simpson was arrested five months ago in the Central African Republic after he stumbled upon 13 massacred bodies and informed local officials.
Mr Simpson, 24, was charged with the murders and held in Ngaragba Central Prison in the country’s capital, Bangui, as he desperately fought to clear his name. The charges were finally dropped last week.
His family’s hopes soared yesterday as it looked as if Mr Simpson, who worked as a manager and pilot for a Swedish safari company, would finally be coming back and they were informed by authorities he was due to get on a plane.
It followed an agonising few days after authorities confiscated Mr Simpson’s passport even after the charges had been dropped.
Mr Simpson’s father, Peter, shared the news with thousands of supporters on Facebook – to the excitement of well-wishers who have been campaigning for his son’s release.
But as Mr Simpson, of Gillamoor, near Helmsley, arrived at the airport with his passport, local military prevented him getting on the plane – telling him a judge needed to sign release papers.
His brother, Paul Simpson, told The Press that the next flight was now on Sunday and the family were hoping that Mr Simpson would be able to obtain a letter from a judge before then so the family could have the homecoming they had been hoping for.
Mr Simpson discovered the bodies in March as he was going through dense forest in Bakouma, an area in the south-east of the country. The mutilated corpses were tied together and had been systematically arranged.
Many commentators have linked the killings to supporters of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.