BILLY Burton’s family are optimistic he will be back in the UK soon despite a hold-up with his release.
The 49-year-old is currently in a detention centre in the Philippines after being pardoned by the country’s president on Boxing Day.
His cousin, Angela Morris, said the standard release procedure can take two to three months, but they have been assured senior officials in the country will fast-track his release.
“I guess as the records all go back 20 years they are probably manual and not computerised, so it takes time,” said Mrs Morris.
“However, despite this delay, Billy is in good spirits and the time in the detention centre should help in the transition to being free, giving him some thinking time away from the day to day pressures and hardships of prison.”
Mrs Morris added Billy’s living conditions have improved since leaving prison. He now has fresh running water and a flushing toilet for the first time in 20 years.
“It puts a little perspective on the reality of the situation he was in,” she said. “My family are so thrilled at the news and the prospect of his return.
“I have spoken with family members here in the UK and around the globe, as Billy has family in Australia and Canada, and they are so thankful, relieved and still celebrating.”