Saturday 17 March 2018

Irish men held in UK over refugee's container death

Greg Harkin

TWO Irish men were being quizzed by detectives in England last night about the horrific death of a refugee inside a lorry container.

A 34-year-old man, originally from Carndonagh, in Co Donegal, was arrested in a PSNI operation in Co Down on Tuesday. He was flown to Essex yesterday, arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in connection with the death of a 40-year-old Afghan refugee inside a shipping container in England.

A second man, a 33-year-old, was arrested by police in Derry yesterday afternoon as part of a major international police operation involving police forces throughout Europe.

The 34-year-old Donegal man, with homes in Carndonagh and Limavady, Co Derry, was arrested by the PSNI on the A1 in Co Down on Tuesday on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry into the UK.

The arrest followed an incident in which 35 people from Afghanistan, including 15 children, were found at Tilbury Docks in Essex on Saturday.

They are all Afghan Sikhs, who were fleeing persecution in Kabul.

The group arrived in the UK on a ship from Belgium, and were said by police to be victims of people trafficking.

"This is a fast-moving investigation which has already involved a number of police forces and law enforcement agencies from across the United Kingdom and Europe," said Detective Inspector Martin Pasmore, from Essex police.

The refugees were discovered after dock workers heard screams and banging coming from one of the containers.

Essex Police named the dead man as 40-year-old Meet Singh Kapoor. The 34 survivors - with ages ranging from one to 72 - include 10 men, nine women and 15 children.

They are all in the care of the UK Home Office after being questioned by police and are seeking asylum in the UK.

A UK Home Office spokesman said: "This is a tragic incident and is a reminder of the devastating human consequences of illegal migration and we will do all we can to help bring those responsible to justice.


"The survivors are now in the process of claiming asylum in the UK and we are providing accommodation and support to those who require it while their cases are considered.

"The UK takes its international obligations extremely seriously and has a proud history of offering protection to those who need it."

The Home Office does not comment on individual cases and any decision will not be announced publicly.

A police spokesman said the Donegal man was arrested just after noon on Tuesday, on the main Dublin to Belfast A1 at Banbridge, in Co Down.

The suspect had been living for the past couple of years in Limavady, Co Derry. However, he is originally from Carndonagh.

Security sources here said the pace of the investigation suggested British police already had members of the criminal gang behind people trafficking "on their radar".

The source added: "Gardai will provide whatever assistance is required by police in Northern Ireland and in Britain."

A decision on the future for the 34 survivors hasn't been taken.

Irish Independent

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