A FAMILY is celebrating after their son finally won his freedom following a drawn-out legal battle in Thailand.
Lee Chestnutt, from Pilling, moved to Thailand to start his own business six years ago, but became locked in a dispute with a former landlord over alleged damage and furniture theft, meaning he was unable to work or leave the country for three and a half years.
Although he won a court case two years ago, the landlord appealed, sparking a long wait for an appeal hearing, which finally took place yesterday morning.
His worried parents, Pat and Bruce Chestnutt, stayed up all night, and finally got the news their son had won the legal battle at 3.30am.
An elated Mrs Chestnutt said her son’s first words after the hearing were “we’re free”.
For more than three years, Mr Chestnutt has been relying on the generosity of his family for financial and emotional support.
Mrs Chestnutt, 64, who lives near Garstang, said: “Money doesn’t matter at the end of the day, it’s just freedom. We’ve all suffered through this, it’s been a nightmare.”
Mr Chestnutt, 41, who is originally from Pilling but has spent the last 20 years in the Far East, has told his parents he wants to come back home and live a normal life.
His family will visit him in Thailand for Christmas while he waits for a visa to return to England, which is likely to arrive in the New Year.
Mrs Chestnutt added: “He loves Thailand but this has left a bitter taste in his mouth.”
Mr Chestnutt’s case was supported by Fleetwood and Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who held meetings with the foreign minister, Hugo Swire, and the Thailand ambassador.
Mr Ollerenshaw said he was pleased Thai justice had finally been done.