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Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot

jen mills

Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot
Two women were found inside a large black holdall in the boot of a car that was stopped at UK border control (Picture: PA)

A woman has been jailed for people-smuggling after two women were found in a black bag in her car boot.

Both of the women were unresponsive and had to be rushed to hospital when they were discovered jammed into the holdall on October 9 last year.

People smuggler Wendy Thomas had been trying to get them past UK border control at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais, but was discovered by officials.

A man was also found hiding in the passenger footwell of her car as she attempted to drive them all into the UK, the Home Office has said.

Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot
A man was found hiding underneath two cushions and a quilt covering the rear foot wells (Picture: PA)

Thomas, 50, of Horle Close, Cardiff, South Wales, pleaded guilty to one count of assisting illegal immigration. She was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court on Thursday.

Releasing the details of the case on Monday, the Home Office said Adriano Bettoja-Allen, 37, and his wife Jeanette, 49, were also sentenced for their parts in two separate ‘carefully planned’ attempts to smuggle people into the UK.

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An investigation started when Dawood Shahbeik was arrested at St Pancras International station when he arrived on the Eurostar from Calais on October 2 2016.

Shahbeik’s mobile phone had texts saying someone had been transported to a house in Newport, South Wales, and a search of his luggage revealed a damaged Iranian passport and a large amount of cash, a Home Office spokeswoman said.

Thomas’ arrest happened a week after Shahbeik’s and text messages on both their phones showed they had been in regular contact with Bettoja-Allen, of Park Square, Newport.

Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot
Wendy Thomas has been jailed for people-smuggling (Picture: PA)
Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot
Adriano Bettoja-Allen has been sentenced to five years in prison after admitting two counts of assisting illegal immigration (Picture: PA)
Smuggler jailed after women found unconscious in her car boot
The black holdall where two women were concealed (Picture: PA)

David Fairclough, from Immigration Enforcement, said: ‘The fact that two women ended up in hospital demonstrates the dangerous lengths people smugglers will go to.’

The two women were found inside a large black holdall filling the boot of Thomas’ car and covered by pillows and a large soft toy.

The third passenger, a man who later claimed to be an Iranian national and was handed to the French authorities to be removed from the UK control zone, was found hiding underneath two cushions and quilt spread across the car covering the rear foot wells.

More: UK

Jeanette Bettoja-Allen, 49, of Park Square, Newport, from the Philippines, was linked to the Calais incident and was sentenced to 11 months, suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work, and a curfew after pleading guilty to assisting illegal immigration three days into her trial, the Home Office said.

Her husband was sentenced to five years in prison after admitting two counts of assisting illegal immigration.

Shahbeik was dealt with at an earlier hearing and was sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting one count of assisting illegal immigration.

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