Derry man jailed for human trafficking is wanted in North for alleged attempted murder of ex-partner

Derry Man Jailed For Human Trafficking Is Wanted In North For Alleged Attempted Murder Of Ex-Partner
Ms Murphy said that in January another warrant for McLaughlin was issued by Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast for seven alleged offences, one of which is attempted murder.
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Paul Neilan

A Derry man who was jailed for conspiring to illegally traffic migrants into the UK is wanted in the North for the alleged attempted murder of his ex-partner, the High Court has heard.

Stephen Andrew McLaughlin (44) was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment in 2016 for conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry into the UK in August 2014, in a scheme that was discovered after an Afghan man died of a heart attack in a lorry container. Authorities in the UK are seeking his extradition for breaching the terms of his licence after his release from prison.


McLaughlin, of Rose Park, Limavady, County Derry, had denied the conspiracy charge but was convicted by a jury and jailed at Basildon Crown Court on June 30th, 2015.

The court heard that in 2014, Afghan national Meet Singh Kapoor died from a heart attack while travelling from Belgium with 34 others, including his family.

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

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


McLaughlin, the court heard, supplied the lorry, his yard and allowed his shipping account to be used for the container's journeys.

The court also heard that another container on a lorry had been discovered at the Europort in France, earlier in August 2014, that was due to depart to the UK with 12 Afghan nationals on board before it, too, was intercepted.

At the High Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Michael MacGrath was told by Jane Murphy BL, for the State, that McLaughlin’s licence was revoked for not complying with probation services and a warrant for his arrest was issued by Southend Magistrates Court in February 2024. McLaughlin has a balance of 341 days to serve, she said.

Ms Murphy said that in January another warrant for McLaughlin was issued by Laganside Magistrates Court in Belfast for seven alleged offences, one of which is attempted murder.


Authorities in the North are also seeking to charge McLaughlin with threat to kill, criminal damage, two charges of dangerous driving and two counts of assault.

The maximum sentence for attempted murder in the UK is life imprisonment.

The warrant alleges that on September 19th 2022, at Ness Woods Country Park in County Derry, McLaughlin rammed the car of his former partner before placing her in a choke hold, turning her face purple and causing her eyes to roll back in her head.

The warrant alleges that McLaughlin threatened to kill the woman and then placed her in a sitting position against her car before reversing back his own car and again ramming her car.


The warrant further alleges that McLaughlin also assaulted a female friend of his ex-partner.

David Perry BL, for McLaughlin, said the state had not established a corresponding Irish law to match "the conspiracy to breach immigration law" from the UK. The identification of a corresponding offence in Irish law is required in order to grant extradition.

Separately, Mr Perry said that an expert lawyer in the North, consulted by the respondent, said that McLaughlin would not, in practice, receive credit there for the time he had already served in custody in the Republic.

“Under the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, someone is entitled to credit for time served in this process. Expert evidence says that will not happen, which would be in breach of the agreement. Surrender then, should not be ordered.


The Minister says the sentence is ticking down while proceedings are ongoing here, but expert evidence says the contrary,” said Mr Perry.

Regarding correspondence, Ms Murphy, for the State, said that there was nothing in Irish law to say that a conspiracy charge applied "only to incomplete offences”.

Ms Murphy said conspiracy charges can be used to reflect the “overall interactions and responsibilities in a criminal group” and that there had in fact been a breach of immigration law.

Regarding the issue of whether or not McLaughlin would be given credit for time served in the Republic, Ms Murphy said the Southend warrant stated that McLaughlin’s licence expires on January 17th, 2025, after which no additional time can be served.

“There will be no additional time, as the calculated date as it stands on the warrant, is 341 days from the date of its issue and credit will be given,” said Mr Murphy.

Mr Justice MacGrath adjourned the matter to June 14th for judgment.

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