Man arrested in Italy over deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in UK

Italian police said Saturday they had arrested a man wanted by Britain in connection with a people-smuggling plot that led to the death of 39 Vietnamese migrants in the back of a lorry[1].

Stefan Damian Dragos, a 28-year-old Romanian citizen, is accused of having provided the truck that transported the migrants to England, according to a police statement.

Dragos, who was detained by police in Milan on a UK arrest warrant, “belongs to a criminal organisation dedicated to illegal immigration”, it added.

A statement from Essex police in southeast England said he has been charged with “conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence”.

The 39 Vietnamese migrants — the youngest of whom were two 15-year-old boys — suffocated in the container as they were being transported to what they had hoped would be new lives in Britain.

Their lifeless bodies were discovered inside the sealed unit at a port near London in October 2019.

The case cast a shocking new light on the lengths migrants will go to in order to reach Britain, and the gangs exploiting their desperation.

The ringleaders of the smuggling gang, Ronan Hughes and Gheorghe Nica, were convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter at a London court earlier this year[2], and jailed for 20 years and 27 years respectively.

Truck drivers Maurice Robinson and Eamonn Harrison were also given 13-year and 18-year sentences respectively.

Yorkshire Ripper’s prison CD player with crude self-portrait on sale for £7,000

The Yorkshire Ripper’s old Broadmoor boombox has gone on sale – for £7,000.

The garish stereo – adorned with a crude self-portrait of evil former owner Peter Sutcliffe – is up for offers on a US crime memorabilia site.

Sutcliffe, who died of Covid-19 at 74 in November, had the portable sound system in the late 1980s while held in the secure Berkshire hospital.

The source who revealed the macabre sale said: “Sutcliffe was a big pop fan but having this in your house would mean anything but easy listening.”

What is your view? Have your say in the comment section

The killer’s boombox on US crime site
The killer’s boombox on US crime site

The killer, a fan of Neil Young and U2, emblazoned the CD/cassette player with a cartoon-style image of himself surrounded by a crescent moon, a star and black spirals on the top in black marker.

He dated his handiwork as September 5 1987 – six years after his trial – and added his initials PWS.

He also scrawled the message “hands off” in an apparent warning to fellow patients.

On the back the monster had written a quote from US ad guru William Bernbach which begins: “Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature… what compulsion drive a man, what instincts dominate his action.”

Lorry driver Sutcliffe’s horrific actions led to him being given 20 concurrent life sentences after killing at least 13 women and attempting to murder seven others between 1975 and 1980.

Supernaught, the website selling the antiquated music player, has a long history of trading his former possessions.

He scribbled over it and drew a self-portrait
He scribbled over it and drew a self-portrait

Predator Sutcliffe was said to have had a wide-ranging taste in music including reggae, Mozart, The Who, the Eurythmics and Joan Baez.

His vile and infamous crimes also inspired some bands including punks Siouxsie and the Banshees, who wrote lyrics about the killer on their track Night Shift.

Police find lorry driver fast asleep on the hard shoulder of the M67

A lorry driver was found fast asleep on the hard shoulder of the M67[1].

Traffic police spotted the Scania lorry parked up on the hard shoulder of the five-mile motorway which runs through Tameside[2] to Mottram.

They found the driver ‘having 40 winks’ at the roadside.

The driver was issued with a traffic offence report and moved along.

GMP Traffic posted a picture of the lorry on Twitter on Friday evening.

Alongside the picture, an officer wrote: “Traffic Officer #ME44 was travelling along the #M67 when they saw this HGV parked up on the hard shoulder.

“Turns out the driver was having 40 winks and was fast asleep.

“The driver was swiftly woken, issued a TOR and moved on! #planyourroute @NWmwaypolice.”

References

  1. ^ M67 (www.manchestereveningnews.couk)
  2. ^ Tameside (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)

Romanian arrested over deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in Essex

Romanian man, 28, is arrested by Italian police over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex

  • Stefan Damian Dragos allegedly provided the truck used to smuggle the victims
  • The 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a trailer in October 2019
  • He was arrested in Italy after UK police issued an international arrest warrant
  • UK authorities want to question Dragos on suspicion of manslaughter  

Italian police said on Saturday they had arrested a Romanian citizen who is the subject of an international arrest warrant from the UK for the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese people who were being smuggled into Britain.

Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, allegedly provided the truck which was used to smuggle the group of migrants, who were found dead in a freight container on the back of the vehicle in October 2019, Italian police said in a statement.

There was no immediate statement from the suspect or from any lawyer representing him. He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan, but police gave no further details.

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

The discovery of so many dead people – two as young as 15 – in the back of the truck on an industrial estate to the east of London shocked Britain and Vietnam. 

It also shone a spotlight on the illicit global trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Most of those who died were from Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial reward abroad fuel migration.

In January four men who admitted or were found guilty of manslaughter and immigration offences were given long jail sentences.

References

  1. ^ Darren Boyle for MailOnline (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Road safety campaigner dedicates MBE to eight-year-old son who was killed in motorway crash

A road safety campaigner has dedicated her MBE[1] to the memory of her eight-year-old son who died in a crash on a smart motorway. 

Meera Naran’s son Dev was killed in May 2018 after a lorry hit his grandfather’s car on the hard shoulder of the M6 which was being used by moving traffic.

Since his death, Ms Naran, who is from Leicester, has dedicated her time to improving the smart motorway system and played a key role in the government’s new 18-point safety plan.

She also helped with updates to the Highway Code around motorway driving and successfully lobbied the government for a £5million road education campaign – the first phase of which has been rolled out.

Her MBE was for her services to road safety.

She told the BBC: “I’m accepting this in the memory of my son, Dev, and for me it’s about continuing to focus on my campaign, which is safer drivers on safer roads.

“The first person I actually wanted to tell was Dev and it was so hard because he’s not here.

“We were always each other’s cheerleaders – it’s really hard.”

She said that she was “honoured and humbled” for her hard work to be recognised “especially in memory of Dev”. 

“Grief is all-consuming…and it is devastating. If allowed, it can consume you. But I always believed in turning that into something positive by helping to save the lives of others. That’s what keeps me going,” Ms Naran said in a statement posted by De Montfort University[3] where she is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy.

“My campaigning voice has been motivated by all the unspent love I have for Dev. If he was here, he would be getting all that love. It would be his. But instead, I am using it for road safety.”

Reflecting on her campaigning she explained that it was her “determination” from the very beginning which helped her push for changes. 

However, Ms Naran said: “I’m just really pleased it has got me where we are today, but obviously it comes with the sadness of losing my baby.

She added: “Until we achieve zero deaths, I will not be able to say that I have succeeded.”

A smart motorway is a section of a motorway that uses traffic management methods to increase capacity and reduce congestion in busy areas.

These methods could include utilising the hard shoulder as a running lane and using variable speed limits to control the flow of traffic.

But there have been questions over their safety after fatal accidents involving stationary cars being hit from behind.

In April the government announced that no more smart motorways without hard shoulders will be able to open without additional safety measures put in place. 

Exposed, the brazen Turkish people-traffickers selling tickets to Britain for £10,000

In a brightly lit travel agent’s office off a busy Istanbul street, the people-smuggler told his lies with a winning smile. It would only take 20 minutes to cross the Channel in a small boat, he said. Once in England, it would be easy to find well-paid work and for relatives to follow. Scared of drowning? Don’t be, he said: hundreds of thousands of people had already made the same journey and only a couple of them had lost their lives. The rest were living happily in the UK. All this, he said, for a very reasonable price of about £10,000.

It was lies like these, told by a chain of traffickers stretching from the Middle East to the UK, that led Rasoul Iran-Nejad and

Newcastle woman, 23, almost lost her arm after it was crushed by a lorry

These are the gruesome injuries sustained by a Newcastle-[1]born musician after she almost lost her arm when a lorry drove over it.

Cellist Laura Armstrong’s main artery was destroyed, meaning she needed a vein graft during emergency surgery.

What followed was a series of major operations, including an 11 hour procedure involving skin and nerve grafts. Almost two years on, she’s still undergoing significant treatment.

Devastatingly, the 23-year-old’s injuries also meant she was unable to continue with her master’s degree at the Royal College of Music.

Now she fears her injuries will prevent her realising her dream of becoming a professional cellist.

“I remember picking my arm up from the road and my fingers were white and wouldn’t move,” said Laura, who now lives in London.

“There was blood on the road. It was terrifying and excruciatingly painful. I never imagined one could be in such pain.

Laura Armstrong
Newcastle-born Laura Armstrong, 23, almost lost her arm after it was crushed by a lorry (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

She was on her way to meet friends for lunch the collision happened in October 2019.

A keen cyclist, she was riding through Stratford when a lorry driver turned left across the cycle lane, in order to turn onto a road. The lorry then collided with Laura and drove over her right arm.

Laura recalled: “The crash happened so quickly. I was cycling in the cycle lane and suddenly the lorry turned directly across my path and I ended up under the lorry.

“The surgeons told me they were very close to amputating my arm but they were amazing and managed to save it.

Laura Armstrong
Newcastle-born Laura Armstrong, 23, almost lost her arm after it was crushed by a lorry (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

“As a musician, what they did for me goes beyond words and I will always be thankful.”

She remained in The Royal London Hospital for 12 days after the incident as she underwent extensive treatment.

She added: “What happened that day continues to affect me still, both physically and emotionally. The accident has had a huge impact on my ability to do everyday things, including having to learn to write with my left hand.

“I have very little feeling in my right hand and limited movement in my arm and my greatest challenge is not knowing what the future holds for my career and if I will be able to become a cellist. I have an incredible professor, Raphael Wallfisch, and the Royal College of Music has helped me throughout my recovery.

“Music is hugely important to me so I am determined to keep trying.”

Laura Armstrong cellist
Newcastle-born Laura Armstrong, 23, almost lost her arm after it was crushed by a lorry (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

Besides a series of grafts, two plates were inserted for a fracture. She’s just recently undergone further surgery.

She was forced to defer her place whilst she underwent rehabilitation, putting the brakes on a promising career in which she toured Britain, Scandinavia and Singapore and performed with world famous conductors and composers including Sir Mark Elder and the late Oliver Knussen.

Laura instructed expert serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her access the specialist rehabilitation and therapies she requires.

And she’s also joined the firm in supporting the consultation on changes to The Highway Code. One of the proposals – under rule H3 – will require motorists to give priority to cyclists when the driver is turning in or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.

Anna Pask, the specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Laura, said: “Laura has faced an incredibly difficult time as she has attempted to come to terms with her injuries and the impact they’ve had on her life.

The graphic injuries sustained by Laura Armstrong after a lorry crushed her arm
The graphic injuries sustained by Laura Armstrong after a lorry crushed her arm

“The team at The Royal London did a fantastic job in saving Laura’s arm and while she has made progress in her recovery to date, she still faces many challenges ahead and will never regain full use of her arm.

“Given we represent people on a daily basis whose lives have been shattered as a result of death or serious injury on our roads, we support the proposed changes to The Highway Code as a welcome revision to assist all road users and improve road safety.

“We’re determined to support Laura so she can make the best possible recovery.”

The graphic injuries sustained by Laura Armstrong after a lorry crushed her arm
Newcastle-born Laura Armstrong, 23, almost lost her arm after it was crushed by a lorry (Image: Irwin Mitchell)

The proposed new Rule H3 sets out that drivers should not cut across cyclists going ahead, when turning into or out of a junction, or changing lane. This applies to cyclists using a cycle lane, cycle track or riding ahead on the road. Drivers should give way.

And although Laura has not returned to cycling since the collision, she says: “Cycling is more popular than ever and is important to ensure people remain active. So it’s vital that everyone feels safe on the roads.

“The proposed changes to the Highway Code could definitely help.”

References

  1. ^ Newcastle- (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)

Suspect arrested in Italy over Vietnamese migrant truck deaths in 2019

Police found the truck in an industrial estate in Thurrock, Essex, south England. /AP /Alastair Grant

Police found the truck in an industrial estate in Thurrock, Essex, south England. /AP /Alastair Grant

Italian police have arrested a man wanted in the UK in connection with a people-smuggling plot that led to the death of 39 Vietnamese people in the back of a lorry.

Stefan Damian Dragos, a 28-year-old Romanian citizen, is accused of having provided the truck that transported the migrants to England, according to a police statement.

Dragos, who was detained by police in Milan on a UK arrest warrant, “belongs to a criminal organization dedicated to illegal immigration,” it added.

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A statement from Essex police in southeast England said he had been charged with “conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and encouraging or assisting the commission of an offense.”

The 39 Vietnamese migrants – the youngest were two 15-year-old boys – suffocated in the container as they were being transported to what they had hoped would be new lives in Britain. 

Their bodies were discovered inside the sealed unit at a port near London in October 2019.

The case cast a shocking new light on the lengths migrants will go to, and the gangs exploiting their desperation.

Two of the smuggling gang, Ronan Hughes and Gheorghe Nica, were convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter at a London court earlier this year, and jailed for 20 years and 27 years respectively.[4]

Truck drivers Maurice Robinson and Eamonn Harrison were also given 13-year and 18-year sentences respectively.

Source(s): AFP