Two could face retrial over over migrants container smuggling

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Two men accused of smuggling 35 immigrants in to the UK in a container in which one man died are facing a possible retrial.

Four defendants stood trial at Basildon Crown Court after denying organising the operation after 35 Afghan Sikhs, including 15 children, were found inside the container at Tilbury Docks, Essex, on August 16.

Among them was Meet Singh Kapoor, 40, who had died in the overnight crossing from Zeebrugge, Belgium.

The rest survived the ordeal but were found distressed in cramped conditions.

The jury failed to reach verdicts on Stephen McLaughlin, of Derry, who had an address in Limavady and is orignally from Carndonagh, Co Donegal, and Martin McGlinchey, 47, of Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, who both denied conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK.

Lead investigator DCI Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “It must be remembered that during this sickening incident Meet Singh Kapoor lost his life; my thoughts are very much with his wife, children, family and friends at this time.

“The first two days of this incident were particularly difficult for the surviving asylum seekers and I am very grateful to the local Sikh community and the Red Cross who were instrumental in quickly building a rapport between the victims and police as well as providing food and essential items.”

Timothy Murphy, 33, of Derry, Northern Ireland, was previously found not guilty of conspiring to facilitate illegal entry into the UK.

Taha Sharif, who is Kurdish and was living in Tottenham, London, was convicted of the same charge.

He will be sentenced at a later date which has not been announced.