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Ryedale pilot David Simpson thanks everyone for their support after being freed from jail
THE family of a Ryedale man who spent five months in an African jail after being suspected of involvement in a massacre has thanked everyone for their support following his return home at the weekend.
David Simpson, from Gillamoor, was working in the Central African Republic when he reported finding 18 bodies which led to his imprisonment on suspicion of murder in March.
The 24-year-old pilot had been working for a Swedish company, Central African Wildlife Adventures, which takes clients game hunting.
Initially held at Ngaragba Central Prison in the country’s capital, Bangui, David was later placed under house arrest after the jail was destroyed by rioters.
The charges against him were finally dropped last week and he arrived home on Saturday.
David said he was glad to be back and has always believed that he would get home.
“I never knew how long it would take and whether I would get out the legal way or make my escape, but I knew I would get out of there and make it home,” he said.
“It is something I certainly never want to repeat ever again – it has not been good and now I want to finish that chapter and move on with my life.”
David, who hopes to return to Africa in October, said he had been unaware of the level of support for him.
“It has been really nice to see how much support I have had and I would like to thank everyone for that,” he said.
David’s father Peter said it had been a difficult five months and the family was relieved to have him home.
“We are delighted to have him back – it is a very good feeling to have him home at last,” he said.
“The whole family would like to thank everyone for their support and their kindness over the past few months.”
She said: “In welcoming David home, we all share in the relief and celebration that his family and friends will feel. I would like to thank all concerned in securing David’s release from the Central African Republic, especially the Foreign Secretary and the now former Minister for Africa, Henry Bellingham as well as the Foreign Office and Consular officials.”