Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 11:24 UK

Fears for fiance in Latvian jail

Matthew Neale (left) and David Birkinshaw
Matthew Neale (left) and David Birkinshaw say they are innocent

The fiancee of a Derby man extradited to Latvia on a charge of attacking a policeman says she fears he has become suicidal over conditions in jail there.

David Birkinshaw, 33, and Matthew Neale, 35, were arrested after a fight in June 2008 while on a stag holiday.

The men deny involvement but have not been given a trial date.

Mr Birkinshaw, of Alvaston, was due to marry fiancee Rachel Gee on Saturday, and has sent her a letter that has made her "concerned for his safety".

The letter, which Ms Gee received on what would have been their wedding day, described how he was "struggling to keep going".

It's absolutely heart-breaking. It should have been my wedding day
Rachel Gee, fiancee

It said he has flannels wrapped round his feet because the soles of his shoes are worn, his cell is freezing and cell-mates are "making life difficult".

Ms Gee, who has a two-year-old daughter, Lola, with Mr Birkinshaw, said: "It was absolutely heart-breaking to read and very worrying.

"It should have been my wedding day. Instead Lola was pining for her daddy and I try to reassure her he's at work and coming back soon."

She blamed their extradition at the start of August on confusion over bail payments due to the language barrier.

'Communication failure'

The men were taken to a Latvian court and a fine was issued, which they did not pay on their return to the UK.

Rachel's mother, Lorraine Gee, said: "It's down to a communication failure. They have done nothing wrong."

Rachel said she plans to fly to Latvia for the trial and re-organise their wedding "as soon as possible", though their savings have now been spent on solicitor's fees.

If found guilty, the men could face anything from a suspended sentence to seven years in jail.



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