THE partner of an ex-serviceman being held in an Indian jail is hoping for “light at the end of the tunnel” in her bid to have him freed.

Yvonne MacHugh, 28, has spoken of the torturous ordeal she and her family have been put through since Billy Irving, 38, was imprisoned four years ago by Indian authorities who claim the ship he was working on as a security officer had carried illegal weapons into the country.

Billy – who went on hunger strike over the squalid conditions in Puzhal Central Prison – was detained in 2013 after India’s coastguard boarded the MV Seaman Guard Ohio.

The authorities’ claims have been rejected repeatedly by 35 members of the crew and subsequently campaigners who have produced licences showing they had permission for the firearms.

The seamen were jailed for five years last January for possessing illegal weapons.

With the former paratrooper unable to return to the family home in Neilston, Yvonne was forced to move into her mum’s house in the village with the couple’s two-year-old son William.

The young mum, who was only recently able to afford a new home in Paisley, said: “I just think the longer it goes on, how could a judge sit on a verdict where he believes they’re innocent yet lets them suffer?

“There's still no light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m not very hopeful but we need a verdict to move on. Billy’s come off the hunger strike now because he got out to hospital for problems to his back and elbow.

“He wasn’t getting medical treatment and that was part of the reason for doing it. They’ve since been out to hospital and they’ve been allowed pork but that was a no-go before.

“His body has obviously adapted to it now and they’re getting so many care packs from family, friends and strangers to make sure they have enough food and protein to keep them going, even just silly things like Haribos and letters to cheer them up.”

While the gifts and good wishes are helping to keep her partner’s spirits up, Yvonne conceded the situation does not get any easier to deal with.

She continued: “I just feel like I’ve been going through this for the past four years and it’s always bad news, it’s never good news. I just wonder when we’re going to get a break.

“Their release date is actually June 2020 and that seems a lifetime away but we don’t know if they will be released. It’s not like here, we just don’t know what can happen. The whole thing has been corrupt from day one.”

Billy now has Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP Mhairi Black fighting his case, following his partner’s relocation.

A spokeswoman for Ms Black’s office said: “We can confirm Mhairi has received information from (former East Renfrewshire MP) Kirsten Oswald’s office and she is looking into this matter.”