Man charged with manslaughter after four migrants drowned crossing English Channel in small boat

A migrant has been charged with the manslaughter of four people who drowned after the boat they were travelling in sank in the English Channel.

Ibrahima Bah, now 19, is being prosecuted over the disaster in the early hours of 14 December because of his role in the crossing.

He was previously charged with facilitating illegal entry into the UK and is due to stand trial for that offence later this year.

He will appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with four country of manslaughter.

A spokesperson for Kent Police said: “In the early hours of Wednesday 14 December 2022, Kent Police was called to Dover to assist HM Coastguard following a report received of a small boat in distress in the water.

“A multi-agency search and rescue operation was carried out, resulting in 39 people being safely brought to shore. Four other people were pronounced deceased.

“The circumstances surrounding the deaths are the subject of an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, assisted by the National Crime Agency.”

The force said that officers were still working to establish the identity of the drowning victims and locate their next of kin.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) previously said the death toll of December’s sinking has not been confirmed, because it had not yet established the number of passengers who were in the dinghy when it departed from France.

It has launched a separate investigation into the sinking, focusing on the cause of the disaster and the UK’s emergency response.

It came at the end of a record year for small boat crossings, with more than 45,000 people – 90 per cent of whom were asylum seekers – arriving in the UK by the method in 2022.

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