Human trafficking conspirator to be extradited to UK after attempted murder charge

Human Trafficking Conspirator To Be Extradited To Uk After Attempted Murder Charge
Stephen Andrew McLaughlin (44) is wanted to face a number of charges in Northern Ireland including attempted murder, making a threat to kill, criminal damage and assault
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Fiona Magennis

A Derry man who conspired to traffic migrants into Britain is to be extradited there for breaching the terms of his release from prison, after he was accused of a number of other charges including trying to murder his ex-partner.

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.

He is also wanted to face a number of charges in Northern Ireland including attempted murder, making a threat to kill, criminal damage and assault.

McLaughlin, of Rose Park, Limavady, Co 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, Jane Murphy BL for the State, said the court had given judgement and made an order for surrender pending a report on domestic matters.

Providing an update on these matters, she informed Mr Justice Patrick MacGrath that McLaughlin is due before Buncrana District Court on June 25th next to face two charges of dangerous driving and one of public order dating back to 2015. She said the 44-year-old also faces one charge of simple possession of drugs and a charge of possession of a razor blade.

Bench warrant

The lawyer said a bench warrant for these matters was issued while McLaughlin was in custody in the UK and was subsequently executed in May 2021.

David Perry BL, for McLaughlin, confirmed that his client wished to be surrendered rather than await the conclusion of the domestic matters.


Mr Perry said it was a matter for the court to “weigh up” whether it was more appropriate for McLaughlin to be sent back to serve the sentence and face the charges in the UK or whether those be put on hold while he deals with the matters in Ireland.

He asked the court to consider the antiquity of the domestic charges and submitted it was “more appropriate to send McLaughlin back at this juncture in respect of the UK matters”.

Ms Murphy said the State did not take a view on the matter.


Mr Justice McGrath said he would not postpone the extradition. He said he agreed with Mr Perry that the matters for which McLaughlin is sought in the UK and Northern Ireland are “far more serious” than the ones in Ireland which are summary matters of some antiquity.


Mr Justice McGrath made an order that McLaughlin be surrendered to the requesting authorities in the UK.

He remanded McLaughlin in prison for a period not exceeding 25 days pending the carrying out of this order.

At the High Court in May, Ms Murphy told Mr Justice MacGrath 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. She said McLaughlin has a balance of 341 days to serve.

She told the court that another warrant for McLaughlin was issued in January 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 making a 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 Co Derry, McLaughlin rammed the car of his former partner before placing her in a chokehold, 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.

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