Essex

Tilbury shipping container migrant died of heart attack

Still from video showing stowaways being aided near container at Tilbury Docks on 16 August 2014 Image copyright UGC
Image caption Thirty-five migrants were discovered in a shipping container at Tilbury Docks last August

A migrant died of a heart attack aggravated by the stress of travelling in a shipping container, an inquest heard.

Meet Singh Kapoor, 40, was found dead when a freighter from Belgium arrived in Tilbury, Essex, in August 2014.

Mr Kapoor, his wife and two sons were among 35 Afghan Sikhs in the container.

A hearing in Chelmsford heard the family paid £28,000 to reach the UK and felt "sick and frightened" during the overnight crossing.

They were put into the container in the port of Zeebrugge at about 18:00 on 15 August and were among 20 adults and 15 children.

It was cold, wet and dark and the crossing was bumpy, the court was told.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Survivors from the container were taken to hospital to be treated for dehydration and hypothermia

Jaktor Kapoor, Meet Singh's wife, told police her children, aged nine and 12, had used a carrier bag as a toilet, and she had suffered a tight chest and vomiting.

Space was limited so everyone had to sit on top of liquid tanks, she said.

Evidence was heard that the younger son had described his father praying. He then "rested his head, went to sleep and never woke up".

Mr Kapoor, who had sold jewellery in Afghanistan, was pronounced dead at Tilbury docks at 06:00 the following morning.

Home Office pathologist Ben Swift said oxygen levels would have depleted during the confinement but not to an extent that asphyxia was a risk.

Mr Kapoor had an underlying heart condition, which the family was unaware of, and "could have died at any time".

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Meet Singh Kapoor was found dead inside the container

But Dr Swift concluded the "physical and physiological stress of confinement" contributed to his death.

Det Ch Insp Martin Pasmore said life in Afghanistan had become increasingly difficult for the Kapoors due to persecution by radical Muslims.

Women had been harassed and sexually assaulted, children were not permitted to go to school and there had been attempts to force them to convert religion.

Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a conclusion of death by natural causes.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Police were called to Tilbury Docks after banging and screaming was heard in a container

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