Taxi drivers quizzed in crime crackdown by UK tabloid
The Home Office has released the name of a taxi driver accused of helping organise and fund the illegal trafficking of migrants through Birmingham’s black markets, as part of a crackdown which has seen hundreds of migrants jailed for drugs and violent crimes since the start of 2016.
Michael J Brown, 55, was jailed for two years in December after being found guilty of conspiracy to smuggle five people who had made it to Britain through a notorious smuggling ring operating in the north-west, and with support from police and gang members. He faced being deported following his release because he had not shown up for court in February this year, which could be the case because of a “bogus passport” ruling by the Home Office.
The taxi driver and one other man had been arrested on suspicion of trafficking four men who had been taken from Eritrea’s capital, Eritrea, back to Libya last year. They are believed to have been made illegal migrants by the criminal gang involved in the operation, the notorious Kite Gang.
They left their native country on 28 November 2015 â€“ just days after the first batch of migrants arrived in the UK, which had been driven from Eritrea, as part of Operation Scrupulus, launched at the start of 2016 in response to the rise in crime across Britain.
According to court documents submitted to the Old Bailey, Brown and one of the men were recruited by gang members to transport drugs and weapons, but had no knowledge of the criminal activity being organised by the gang. They helped arrange the illegal activities on a weekly basis, even though there was no proper police record of any criminal activities.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Michael Brown, 55, is facing two years in jail after being convicted of conspiracy to smuggle five people to Libya via a notorious smuggling ring in Birmingham, in March this year. Photograph: Rex
Brown pleaded guilty to four counts of conspiracy to smuggle people and goods across the border and was sentenced to seven years in prison for the other charges, plus two years for drug and violent crime.
The gang, also known as the African Gangster Disciples, had been blamed for a string of high profile crimes, including the murder of three teenagers in the town of Gainsborough in 2016 and the death of several people in the River Lea on 5 April 2017, which was later attributed to an alleged gang member. Brown, who was arrested two weeks after the attacks, was jailed for nine years for the same offence, followed by a suspended 12 year prison sentence in August.
The gang’s leaders are accused of running a network of’secret warehouses’ on the British-Serbian border, hidden from police and security services through which the illegal drug trade was conducted.
Melbourne couple abused family of allegedly slave court hears
A Melbourne couple of decades ago was ordered to leave a family by their former employers after the court heard they had been forced to work up to 40 hours a week, sometimes on weekends.
Peter Llewellyn and his wife Joanne were allegedly forced to work as a domestic helper and maid for one family while at the same time going door-to-door for food.
It was alleged the couple were paid far too little to survive on their $30,000 a year pay package.
“It was horrible â€” horrible, awful,” Mr Llewellyn said.
The court heard Mr Llewellyn worked from home for about two years in a caravan park on the Gold Coast before moving into his current Melbourne home.
He told the court he had a full-time job, but a pay period of about two weeks.
He said he did not realise he had been working until he had to be paid for another meal on March 23 last year, despite having the full support of family and friends.
Peter Llewellyn: Was forced to work a full time, low income job.
Joanne Llewellyn: Had to work a family of three.
Drew, a lawyer for the couple, said the couple were made to work 16 hours a day, six days a week, for nearly $5,000 a month.
He said they were denied the ability to retire at the end of the year or be able to buy an early retirement plan.
“There was some form of humiliation that’s put on here for Peter Llewellyn and for Joanne Llewellyn â€” the indignity of having them sitting around home watching the news looking at their children,” Mr Llewellyn said.
“It’s shocking. I mean, I want to think about my children going to school and not working out that they have to do this.”
He said they were forced to work up to 40 hours a week for 20-minute shifts at the same time to support the two children.
Joanne Llewellyn: Has had to work 40 hours a week.
Peter Llewellyn: Has had to work 40 hours a week.
He said they were told the family lived $700,000 of food a month.
It emerged late last week that one of Mr Llewellyn’s former employers had been paid almost $5 million after a lengthy period of legal wrangling.
The case has been adjourned while a tribunal issues its findings on whether Peter Llewellyn and Joanne Llewellyn were right to win their initial claims.