Belfast Telegraph

Tilbury dock death: Man arrested in Northern Ireland on suspicion of manslaughter over container death

A man has been arrested in Northern Ireland on suspicion of manslaughter over the death of a man found in a container at Tilbury Docks on Saturday, Essex Police said.

A 34-year-old man - who is thought to be from Limavady - was arrested this afternoon close to Banbridge.

Police have also searched his home address.

A total of 35 people, including thirteen children aged as young as one, were among the Afghan Sikhs rescued on the weekend, having travelled from Belgium.

One man - aged 40 - was found dead inside the cargo container.

The suspect was arrested after police stopped a vehicle on the A1 near Banbridge.

A PSNI spokesman said:

"The arrest, on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration into the UK, was made by detectives from PSNI's Organised Crime Branch. Searches at a number of properties were also carried out.

"The suspect has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station before being transferred to Essex for questioning. A number of Essex Police officers have travelled to Northern Ireland as part of the investigation."

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of Essex Police, said: "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.

"I am very grateful to officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland for their assistance this morning.

"We will continue to work closely with all of our policing colleagues as we pursue our investigation to bring those responsible for this crime to justice."

The group found in the container were screaming and banging after arriving at the Essex port from Belgium.

It is thought they had travelled by lorry from Afghanistan before spending 18 hours inside the container as it travelled from Zeebrugge.

The survivors are now in the care of the Home Office after being interviewed by police and are in the process of applying for asylum in the UK.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are continuing to provide expert support, along with the National Crime Agency, to the Essex Police investigation into the discovery of 35 people in a container at the port of Tilbury on Saturday.

"This tragic incident 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.

"All 34 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.

The man is in the custody of PSNI, awaiting transportation to Britain to be questioned by Essex Police.

Meanwhile, around twenty people suffering from dehydration have been discovered after a lorry was stopped in southwest England.

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