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Three people charged with murder following death of man in Harwich

Michael Beckwith Credit: Essex police

Three people have been charged with murder after a man was fatally struck with a metal object in Essex.

44 year old Michael Beckwith from Harwich suffered serious head injuries in the incident in Barrack Lane on July 31. He was taken to hospital, where he died on August 2.

27-year-old Scott Swift from Dovercourt, 21-year-old Rebecca Ryan from Weeley and a 17-year-old boy from Harwich have been charged with conspiracy to murder and will all appear at Colchester Magistrates' Court today (August 5).


Murder investigation launched after Harwich death

The man was assaulted in Harwich on Sunday night. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Essex Police have launched a murder investigation following the death of a man in Harwich.

It's believed that the 44-year-old victim was hit with a metal object in Barrack Lane on Sunday night (July 31).

He suffered serious head injuries and was taken to hospital, where he died on Tuesday.

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Alleged people smuggler appears in court

A man accused of trying to smuggle 68 illegal immigrants through an Essex port has appeared in court facing extradition to France.

Iraqi born Rekwat Kayani is suspected of being behind an operation last June when refugees from Afghanistan, China and Vietnam were found inside four lorries in Harwich.


Gang jailed for smuggling drugs in fake ambulances

One of the fake ambulances that was used in the drug smuggling plot. Credit: National Crime Agency

A gang of drug smugglers, including two from Suffolk and Northamptonshire, have been jailed for shipping £1.6 billion of Class A drugs using fake ambulances.

Some of the shipments came through the Essex port of Harwich.

The drugs were being brought to the UK in a fleet of Dutch ambulances, specifically adapted with hides to conceal drugs between May 2014 and June 2015.

Darren Owen, 48, from Rushden, Northants was jailed for 15 years and Richard Clarke, 36, from Acton, Suffolk was jailed for 11 years.

Suspected head of people-smuggling ring arrested after migrants found in Essex

Iraqi born Rekawt Kayani, 34, was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant at his home in Derby. Credit: National Crime Agency

The suspected head of an international people-smuggling ring which is believed to have brought migrants into Britain illegally through the port of Harwich has been arrested.

Iraqi born Rekawt Kayani, 34, was apprehended on a European Arrest Warrant at his home in Derby.

The National Crime Agency said he was one of three men detained as part of a joint investigation with French authorities.

It is alleged Kayani organised numerous smuggling runs, including one in June last year when 68 migrants were found inside four lorries at the Harwich International Port.

The 68 migrants were found at Harwich International Port last July. Credit: Press Association

Thirty-five of the migrants were from Afghanistan, 22 from China, 10 fromVietnam and one was from Russia.

Kayani, who now faces extradition to France, appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Thursday. He has been remanded in custody until a hearing on July 5.

Kayani was targeted by the UK Organised Immigration Crime Taskforce as we believe he is responsible for smuggling hundreds of migrants into the UK.

We will continue to work with agencies in the UK and overseas to target anyone that preys on vulnerable people in order to line their own pockets."

– Mick Pope, NCA

Dutchman guilty of smuggling £1.6 billion drugs into UK

One of the fake ambulances that was used in the plot. Credit: National Crime Agency

A Dutchman has been found guilty of conspiring to smuggle drugs into the UK using a fake ambulance.

The £1.6 billion plot saw huge amounts of contraband brought across the Channel. The gang sometimes used the Port of Harwich in Essex to get the drugs into the country.

Leonardus Bijlsma Credit: National Crime Agency

Leonardus Bijlsma was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court. Prosecutors said he was part of a "lucrative criminal conspiracy" concealed from border officials with the aid of bogus paramedic uniforms and fake patients on crutches.

A haul of drugs seized from the fleet of ambulances. Credit: National Crime Agency

Two other men from Holland; Olof Schoon and Richard Engelsbel had already admitted the conspiracy charge and will be sentenced alongside Bijlsma next week.

A fourth man, 28-year-old Dennis Vogelaar, of Vijfhuizen, Amsterdam, was acquitted by the jury.

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