THE father of a Swindon man caged in the Philippines for the past six months while he waits for a flight home has called on the UK government to “pull its finger out” and get his boy home.

Gerald Taylor’s son, Kevin, was released from a Filipino jail last October. Half a year later, he is still locked up – in a Manilla detention centre where conditions have been described as horrific by former detainees.

Mr Taylor, 78, from Stratton, told the Swindon Advertiser: “Kevin’s out of jail now. He’s been a free man for six months. Why are they keeping a free man locked up?”

Swindon-born Kevin, 53, was arrested in 2009 on fraud charges together with his Filipino wife, Charlene, and held for more than five years without trial. The pair, who ran a recruitment firm, were convicted in 2014 of defrauding jobseekers in the Philippines with promises of employment in the UK. Kevin has previously claimed he is innocent.

Six months and counting

When he was released and sent to a deportation centre last October, there were hopes the dad-of-three could be home by Christmas. But the festive period came and went, with no sign of Kevin returning to Swindon.

Swindon Advertiser:

Kevin and Charlene

He has spent six months in the notorious Bicutan detention centre in Manilla. Former detainees have told the Advertiser that inmates are expected to sleep on the floor with the rats.

Mr Taylor said: “He was better off in jail, because he was getting fed and he had accommodation. Here, he’s got nothing like that.”

Since being held at Bicutan, Kevin’s health had deteriorated. He suffers from poor mental health, scabies and is blind in one eye.“The conditions Kevin’s in are worse than a third world country,” Mr Taylor said.

Plea to minister

The family had written to UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, calling on him to do more to secure Kevin’s release.

Mr Taylor said: “We’re trying to get the powers that be to pull their finger out and do something for us – not leave us out on a limb all the time."

“It could be a year, it could be two years. All we get from the embassy and the Foreign Office is, ‘We can’t interfere with other countries’ laws.'"

He questioned why high profile UK citizens like Matthew Hedges, held in the United Arab Emirates on a spying charge, were deported back to Britain swiftly while his son languished in the Philippines.

Gerald and his wife, Mary, have not seen their son in 15 years, he said. The impact on the couple of Kevin’s latest period of detention had been traumatic: “We don’t know what will happen next.”

Support from consular staff

Consular staff have been visiting Kevin Taylor while he languishes in a Manilla detention centre.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: “Our consular staff continue to support a British man detained in the Philippines, regularly checking on his welfare, as well as keeping in touch on the phone in between visits. We are also in contact with his family and continue to raise his deportation with the Filipino authorities, who are responsible for carrying it out.”

Kevin’s father, Gerald, said he hoped to set up a face-to-face meeting with North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.

Mr Tomlinson told the Advertiser: “I am disappointed at how slowly the Filipino legal continues to operate in Kevin’s case. As has always been the case the Foreign Office is limited in the steps it can take as it cannot overrule the legal system in another country. However, we continue to push the Filipino government to act swiftly and with compassion so that Kevin can be reunited with his parents.”