After finally being released from the captivity of Russian soldiers, Shaun Pinner celebrated his homecoming with a McDonald's Egg McMuffin.
Shaun, 48, was one of five Brits freed this week following a prisoner swap. He landed back in the UK at 6am on Thursday (September 22) with Aiden Aslin, 28, John Harding, 59, Dylan Healy, 22, and Andrew Hill, 35.
British Army veteran Shaun was captured fighting for Ukraine during the Russian siege of Mariupol in April.
READ MORE: Kids as young as four were raped and tortured by Russian forces in Ukraine, UN says
He – along with Aiden and Moroccan Saadoun Brahim (who is also now free) – was sentenced to death by firing squad after a show trial in the Putin-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic.
Shaun’s mum Deborah Price, 66 and from Bedfordshire, said that it was his "sense of humour" that got him through his horrific six-month ordeal, reports the Mirror.
She told the Sunday People: “He survived it quite well. Physically he’s OK but thin, mentally he’ll need a while to settle in. He’s hugely better than I was expecting but needs to put on at least a stone in weight.
“I asked him if he was sure since he’d been eating hardly anything while imprisoned. He said absolutely, he wanted a McDonald’s breakfast. Then that evening he had steak and wine. He’s happy to be back.”
She revealed that guards revelled in telling the prisoners the Queen had died but they knew nothing else.
Shaun, who spent nine years in the Royal Anglian Regiment before joining the Ukrainian army four years ago, is to speak to Foreign Office officials to give grim details of his captivity.
He has also been offered counselling by a charity.
Speaking to The Sun, he revealed he was electrocuted, stabbed, subjected to a mock execution and forced to listen to Abba and Slipknot on a 24-hour loop.
“I never want to listen to an Abba song again or see a loaf of bread. I just am so lucky to be home,” he said.
“One of the guards said he was going to kill me and send the video to my mum.
“They cruelly stole my wedding ring. It was my darkest day.”
Shaun’s Ukrainian wife Larissa will join him in England when she gets a visa. Deborah said: “He’s desperate to see her and she’s desperate to see him. I don’t think she wants to live in the UK but for now it’s the only way.”
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Shaun, his son Evan and the rest of his family celebrated Deborah’s birthday on Saturday with a slap-up meal. Shaun told his mum he would not be fighting again, but would try to help Ukraine another way in the future.
All five released men are due to be interviewed by the Metropolitan Police to see if they are war crime victims.
The Met said: “Our war crimes team continues to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.”
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