People smugglers jailed after death of man inside shipping container at Tilbury Docks

Martin McGlinchey, left and Stephen McLaughlin Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Martin McGlinchey, left and Stephen McLaughlin were jailed for eight and nine years respectively

Two lorry drivers have been jailed for people smuggling following the death of an Afghan man seeking asylum in the UK.

Meet Singh Kapoor, 40 died from a heart attack while travelling from Belgium with 34 others, including his family.

36-year-old Stephen McLaughlin, was jailed for nine years and Martin McGlinchey, 49, for eight years.

Both men, from Northern Ireland, denied conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry into the UK but were found guilty at Basildon Crown Court.

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UK Border Force officials found 35 Afghan women, men and children in a lorry at Tilbury Docks in August 2014.

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

The container had arrived in Tilbury with 10 men, 10 women and 15 children on board from Zeebrugge.

Essex Police said McGlinchy, from Derryloughlan Road, Dungannon, County Tyrone, helped to organise the lorry's movements and drove the container to Dover.

Mclaughin, from Rose Park, Limavady, County Londonderry, supplied the lorry and allowed his shipping account to be used for the container's journeys.

A third man, Taha Sharif, from High Cross Road, Tottenham, who was convicted of the same offence last year, and who will be sentenced later this month, organised the loading of the people into the container.

When they arrived in the UK, the 35 asylum seekers were treated for shock, exhaustion and dehydration.

Image copyright UGC
Image caption Thirty-five immigrants were found on a shipping container at Tilbury Docks in August 2014

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, from Essex Police, welcomed the sentence.

He said: "Vulnerable people seeking help were treated in an appalling way at the hands of these greedy criminals, which prevented any prospect of medical help for Mr Kapoor.

"My thoughts remain very much with his wife, children, family and friends, and the other surviving asylum seekers who endured such distressing and shocking conditions."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Many of the group had severe dehydration and hypothermia when they were found by dock workers

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