Belfast Telegraph

Tilbury Docks container death Stephen McLaughlin quiz suspect is Limavady dad-of-four

By Claire Williamson

New details have emerged on the Northern Ireland man arrested after an Afghan immigrant was found dead inside a shipping container in England.

Stephen McLaughlin, a father-of-four, was on his way home to his partner and young children at their house in Limavady when he was stopped by detectives on the A1 dual carriageway near Banbridge, Co Down.

The 34-year-old was detained on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking after father-of-two Meet Singh Kapoor (40) was found in the container at Tilbury Docks in Essex last Saturday.

He was one of 35 Sikhs from Kabul, including 15 children, who were crammed into the container.

PSNI officers searched a number of properties on Tuesday, including Mr McLaughlin's home.

Mr McLaughlin was flown to Essex for questioning on Wednesday night.

The ship had docked on Saturday after an overnight trip across the North Sea and several of those in the container were suffering from dehydration and hypothermia.

Port workers were alerted by screaming inside the container and banging on its doors.

It is understood Mr McLaughlin's partner gave birth to their youngest child, a boy, just six weeks ago. Neighbours in Limavady described Mr McLaughlin as a "friendly, family man".

More details of the conditions in the container in which Mr Kapoor suffocated in front of his family also emerged.

Families had to perch on top of large receptacles of chemicals surrounded by what little luggage they could carry, with too little room to stand.

They had barely enough room to move and nowhere to relieve themselves.

On Wednesday a second man from Londonderry, aged 33, was also arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and people smuggling after he went to a police station in Essex.

Both men last night remained in custody.

The survivors are in the care of the Home Office after being discharged from hospital.

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