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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 19:02 GMT
Freed death row Scot arrives home
Kenny Richey
Richey arrived back in Scotland for the first time in 25 years

Kenny Richey, the Scot who spent 20 years on death row in the US, has arrived back home in Edinburgh and said "it feels great".

Richey, 43, was freed after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors in Ohio over an arson attack in which a two-year-old girl died in 1986.

His flight touched down at Edinburgh Airport at 1736 GMT.

He said: "It's good to be back home." Richey left Edinburgh aged 18 to live with his American father in Ohio.

'Smooth transition'

Richey's return was delayed by several hours when his flight from Chicago to Heathrow was cancelled because of bad weather.

He managed to board a flight to Frankfurt in Germany, where he caught a connecting flight to Edinburgh.

On arrival at Edinburgh Airport he said: "I would like to thank everybody who supported me all those years."

When asked if he had anything to say to those who convicted him, he said: "I don't think you want to hear that."

Wearing a grey jacket, jeans and white trainers, and accompanied by his brother Steven, he was confronted by a gathering of around 80 media representatives and onlookers and 16 police officers.

For many of the people I have known in his position, adjusting to freedom turned out to be the hardest battle of all
Clive Stafford Smith
Reprieve

He paused briefly for photographers and nodded towards a group of supporters holding banners from the human rights charity Amnesty International as he made his way to an awaiting car, followed by the media crowd.

Asked what he thought of the US justice system, he replied simply: "It sucks."

Richey held up a large Scottish Lion Rampant flag before going into the silver vehicle and being whisked away from the airport.

PR guru Max Clifford, who is representing Richey, revealed the 43-year-old had sold his story to two newspapers.

Richey was convicted in 1987 of the arson attack on an apartment block in an Ohio town in which two-year-old Cynthia Collins died.

But in August last year the sentence was overturned.

Richey hold lion rampant outside airport
Richey held up a large Scottish Lion Rampant flag outside the airport

On Monday, he pleaded no contest to charges of attempted involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering at the Putnam County Common Pleas Court in Ottawa, Ohio.

He was sentenced to a total of 21 years - time which he has already served, most of it on death row.

Richey spent his first day of freedom in the US being reunited with family members, including his brother Steven.

His lawyer Ken Parsigian said that, despite fears Richey would be overwhelmed by the outside world after years in prison, he appeared to be adjusting well.

UK-based charity Reprieve, whose legal director Clive Stafford Smith has been a member of Richey's legal team for 15 years, said he was thrilled about his return home.

Mr Stafford Smith said: "What matters most now is that Kenny finds the support he needs to rebuild his life.

"For many of the people I have known in his position, adjusting to freedom turned out to be the hardest battle of all."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kenny Richey on arriving back home in Edinburgh



SEE ALSO
Return to UK for death row Scot
08 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
'Major stress' faces free Richey
08 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Richey freed after court hearing
07 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Timeline: Kenny Richey's release
07 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Death row Scot returns to prison
21 Dec 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Death row Scot's release on hold
20 Dec 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Death row Scot set to be released
19 Dec 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Jailed Scot's anger at 5m bail
04 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Death row Scot faces bail hearing
01 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Death row conviction overturned
10 Aug 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Kenny Richey: Serving time
27 Aug 07 |  Scotland

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