Murder suspect is caught trying to flee across the Channel from Britain TO France in a 7ft dinghy
A murder suspect was captured trying to flee Britain in a flimsy inflatable dinghy using a tarpaulin as a makeshift sail.
A lifeboat was scrambled to rescue the man more than five miles off the Kent coast – only for him to tell them he didn’t need their help. Incredibly, he told them he planned to continue his near-suicidal DIY attempt to cross the world’s busiest shipping route in the £400 inflatable.
After rescuers convinced him his voyage was doomed, he was picked up and brought to shore.
A murder suspect (pictured) was captured trying to flee Britain in a flimsy inflatable dinghy using a tarpaulin as a makeshift sail. Apparently inspired by the tactics of migrants crossing the English Channel from France, the fugitive was spotted attempting to make the reverse journey in a tiny 7ft boat
The man, aged in his 40s, claimed he had been aiming to reach Portugal via France as his work visa had expired. But after his name was passed to police, it emerged that a warrant was out for his arrest for a murder committed the previous evening.
Armed officers were scrambled to Dungeness lifeboat station and arrested the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
‘We went out thinking it was going to be a routine rescue, but it turned out to be anything but!’ one of those involved in the rescue told the Daily Mail.
A bait digger first raised the alarm early one evening earlier this month to the dinghy ‘drifting’ off St Mary’s Bay. ‘At first we assumed it was kids messing about on a boat because migrants normally come straight to shore,’ the crew member said.
‘He said his outboard motor had fallen off and he was holding up a tarpaulin to use as a sail. But it wasn’t achieving very much.
‘The dinghy was barely suitable for a spot of fishing in the bay, there was no chance he’d be able to cross the Channel in it.
‘The sea was getting choppy, so even if he’d got further out into the shipping lane without being run down, it would have toppled over.
The man, aged in his 40s, claimed he had been aiming to reach Portugal via France as his work visa had expired. But after his name was passed to police, it emerged that a warrant was out for his arrest for a murder committed the previous evening. (File image of a Royal Navy patrol ship)
‘But even though he had three mobile phones, he hadn’t tried to call for help.’
The crew member said the man was ‘very reluctant to get on the lifeboat’. ‘Eventually after about 40 minutes he agreed to come aboard.
‘He said the reason he was trying to cross the Channel was that his work visa had run out.’
He was met by members of Romney Marsh Coastguard and taken to Dungeness lifeboat station, medically assessed and given coffee and biscuits to warm him up.
Crucially, the suspect – who was wearing a tracksuit – had his passport with him, enabling rescuers to establish his real name.
Already suspicious as a result of his ‘odd’ demeanour, coastguard teams informed Kent Police – and the game was up.
They spoke to him about water safety advice to avoid alarming him while they waited for armed officers to turn up and arrest the suspect.
The man was subsequently passed to the police force investigating the killing where he was charged with murder and remanded in custody ahead of his trial.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said it had received reports of ‘a dinghy drifting to the east of Dungeness Point with one person on board’.
‘Romney Marsh Coastguard Rescue Team and the RNLI lifeboat from Dungeness were sent to rescue the casualty and return them to shore, where they were met by police,’ she added.
The rescue comes as coastguard bosses appeal for new volunteers ahead of the busy summer season along the south coast.