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Channel migrant dinghy in which five people died packed with people carrying weapons and fighting – survivor | World News

The migrant dinghy in which five people died was chaotic, overloaded and packed with people carrying weapons and fighting, according to one of the passengers who was on board, speaking exclusively to Sky News.

Heivin, 18, confirmed the boat was stormed by a rival group of migrants, armed with sticks and knives, as it was preparing to set off.

She said: “People were fighting, people were getting stepped on, they were dying and being thrown off.”

She said she fell into the water but was pulled out by another person on the boat. Two other passengers who fell into the water, including a young girl, drowned. Three other people died on the boat.

Heivin said she “really hated” the group of people who hijacked their boat, insisting they should take the blame for what happened.

“They caused a huge tragedy,” she said.

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Five die after migrant boat ‘hijacked’

“It was because of them that people died.

“If they hadn’t come and started fighting, none of this would have happened.”

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The tragedy happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the waters off the French coastal town of Wimereux.

The boat, which launched with 112 people on board, stopped on a sandbar only a few hundred metres from the shore.

By the time emergency services arrived, it was clear people had died, both on the boat and in the water.

“I fell into the water but a man helped me up,” Heivin said.

“Everyone was climbing aboard and there were too many people – over 110 of us.

“I had tried to be at the front, but after I fell in the water I sat on the edge of the boat and didn’t go towards the other end – that’s where people were fighting.

“I thank God that I didn’t get into the top part of the dinghy. I would have suffocated. I thank God for that every day.”

Men in blue on Channel Crossing
Image:
These men rushed on to the boat

She said her group, comprising between 50 and 60 people, had arrived at the beach in Wimereux after following the instructions of the people smugglers who had taken their money in exchange for arranging a passage to Britain.

Hidden away, they had waited for the smugglers to prepare the dinghy. She then saw police officers and was told simply to run towards the water.

At that point, the rival group emerged as well, clambering into the boat along with the people who had paid the smugglers.

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Heivin said she saw migrants from this group carrying sticks and knives, squaring up to both the police and the original passengers.

When the boat set off, exceptionally overladen, it meandered towards the Channel, but there was still fighting and it is clear that some people were being crushed.

“I was aware there was a fight,” Heivin said.

“They were shouting that people were stuck underneath other people, that they couldn’t get out, that some were falling under people’s feet.”

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Heivin has spent seven months travelling across Europe since leaving Iraq. She said she wanted to get to Britain because “it is a better country for me, definitely in terms of the language but also, in many other other ways, it is better than the rest of Europe”.

She’s made 30 attempts to cross the Channel, but has failed each time. Sometimes it has been the French police who have destroyed boats while other times the boat on which she was travelling broke down. One time, the boat failed only an hour from British waters.

She is undeterred by the trauma that she underwent, however, and she intends to try again to reach Britain as soon as possible. “Perhaps this weekend,” she said.

Crossbow attack victim calls for tougher regulation of the weapons | UK News

A woman whose partner was murdered by a neighbour armed with a crossbow is calling on the government to tighten restrictions on the weapons.

Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer were attacked by their neighbour Anthony Lawrence in 2018, when he broke into their East Yorkshire home and shot them both with a crossbow.

Laura, who was pregnant at the time, was injured in the attack but she and the couple’s unborn daughter survived.

The attacker was later found dead.

Anyone aged over 18 can possess a crossbow but, following a review, the Home Office has launched a call for evidence – a request for public feedback – over whether people should need a licence to have one.

It represents a significant moment for Ms Sugden, who has been campaigning on the issue since Shane’s death.

“There’s nothing I would love more than to see some kind of guidance brought in around crossbows,” she said.

“It’s scary to think that anybody can just get hold of them over the age of 18 and I feel like it’s the last thing that I can do for Shane, to try and push for them to be brought in line with firearms.”

After the inquest into Shane’s death, the coroner raised his concern about the lack of controls on crossbows in a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the Home Office.

The Home Office responded that the current laws struck the correct balance.

But the home secretary announced a review after an intruder was caught entering the grounds of Windsor Castle with a crossbow on Boxing Day 2021 intending to kill the late Queen.

Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer. They were attacked when a man broke into their home with a crossbow in 2018. Shane was killed.
Image:
Laura Sugden and Shane Gilmer

The prospect of legislation has alarmed those who use crossbows for legitimate sporting reasons. Archery is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

Raynor Pepper, a competitive archer who helps run courses and sales at Phoenix Archery in Burnley, Lancashire, said: “You’ve probably got some garden tools that are far more dangerous.

“Anything in the wrong hands is going to be a weapon and perceived as such. So where does it stop?”

She said a growing number of people sought exercise and social contact through archery.

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Ms Pepper added: “I’m just worried that something like this would narrow that for them and that would change their lives.

“To be honest, any gun crime that’s committed is not committed by a licensed gun owner, so what is it going to change?”

Ms Sugden said she was shocked by the easy availability of crossbows online.

For her and the daughter born a few months after Shane’s death, new legislation would be a vindication of her campaign.

“My only hope and wish is that no family has to go through, because of that weapon, anything that my family and Shane’s family have,” she said.

Trident missiles are reliable and nuclear weapons can be fired if needed, government says | UK News

The UK’s nuclear deterrent “remains effective, dependable and formidable” – despite a Trident missile misfiring during a recent test and crashing into the ocean in Florida, the government has said.

In a statement, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed “an anomaly did occur” when a rare operation was held on HMS Vanguard on 30 January – but stressed this was “event specific”.

“Nor are there any implications for our ability to fire our nuclear weapons, should the circumstances arise in which we need to do so,” Mr Shapps said.

Undated handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence of a still image taken from video of the missile firing from HMS Vigilant, which fired an unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile. Boris Johnson is set to raise the cap on Britain's stockpile of Trident nuclear warheads ending three decades of gradual disarmament, it has been reported. Issue date: Tuesday March 16, 2021.
Image:
An unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile firing from HMS Vigilant at an unknown date. Pic: PA

His statement added: “The Trident missile system remains the most reliable weapons system in the world, having successfully completed more than 190 tests.”

Mr Shapps said the government had “absolute confidence” in the UK’s nuclear deterrent – and that there were “no implications for the reliability of the wider Trident missile systems and stockpiles”.

He went on to warn: “The UK’s resolve and capability to use its nuclear weapons, should we ever need to do so, remains beyond doubt.”

The fault had something to do with it being a test-firing, with a source saying that the launch would have been successful had it been carried out for real with a nuclear warhead.

The Sun newspaper first revealed the drama, saying Mr Shapps had been onboard the submerged submarine at the time.

Malfunction sends wrong kind of message

Deborah Hayes

Deborah Haynes

Security and Defence Editor

@haynesdeborah

The UK’s nuclear deterrent submarines have one core mission – to maintain a continuous ability to launch a strike at any moment upon the order of the prime minister, without failure.

Any suggestion of vulnerability with one of the boats, the Trident missiles or their nuclear warheads undermines the protective blanket that this multiple-times-of-multiple-billions-of-pounds insurance policy is meant to provide to the UK and its NATO allies.

It is why confirmation of an “anomaly” in the test-firing of a US-made Trident II missile by a Vanguard-class submarine off the coast of Florida is more than just an embarrassing blow.

Read Deborah’s full analysis here.

It is the second Trident missile failure in a row for the Royal Navy‘s ageing nuclear weapons fleet after a problem with another test-firing in 2016, when a missile flew in the wrong direction.

The UK has four nuclear-armed submarines. The country’s nuclear deterrent requires at least one of them to be continuously at sea to deter nuclear threats from enemies such as Russia and to be ready to respond should the worst happen and the UK or its allies face a nuclear attack.

Mr Shapps said a routine “Demonstration and Shakedown Operation” had been held, which is when a ballistic missile submarine completes scheduled deep maintenance.

A series of weapons and sub-system tests are performed to assess the submarine and crew – and this culminates in the firing of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile.

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‘Complete confidence’ in Trident

While details surrounding submarine operations are not normally disclosed, Mr Shapps said his statement was in recognition “of the level of interest” in what happened, all while protecting national security.

He added that there was continued investment in the next generation of ballistic submarines, extending the lifespan of Trident missiles and replacing warheads.

“Sustaining the deterrent and renewing it for the future is a truly national endeavour,” Mr Shapps said – describing it as “the ultimate security insurance policy”.

Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps looks on as he gives a speech at Lancaster House
Image:
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps. Pic: Reuters

On 30 January, first-stage boosters did not ignite and the 60-tonne missile – fitted with dummy warheads – splashed into the Atlantic Ocean and sank.

A source told The Sun: “It left the submarine but it just went plop, right next to them.”

A search was immediately initiated to recover the highly sensitive munition.

HMS Vanguard, which has just completed a £500m overhaul, was undergoing a final round of tests before it returns to nuclear patrols.

Ukraine war: Russia attacks ‘pompous’ Zelenskyy and warns UK as president asks for more weapons | Politics News

Russian officials have attacked Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “hasty” visit to Europe – dismissing his speech to MPs in Westminster as “theatrical”.

The Ukrainian president made a surprise appearance in London, where he urged the UK and Western allies to provide “wings for freedom” by supplying advanced jets.

Mr Zelenskyy then travelled to Paris for talks over dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – and he is expected to attend an EU summit in Brussels later today.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meet Ukrainian troops being trained to command Challenger 2 tanks at a military facility in Lulworth, Dorset. Picture date: Wednesday February 8, 2023.

But in a strongly worded statement, the Russian embassy in London said: “Zelenskyy’s pompous solicitations about the values of ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’, which Kiev claims to be fighting for, were overtly hypocritical.”

The embassy went on to mock “the ex-comedian in a green sweatshirt now on tour around Europe” – and also had a warning for the UK government.

“We would like to remind London: in the event of such a scenario the death toll of yet another round of escalation, as well as and its military-political consequences for the European continent and the whole world will be on the United Kingdom’s hands. Russia will know how to respond to any unfriendly actions by the British side,” it said.

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Zelenskyy awards Ukrainian troops in UK

Zelenskyy calls for more weapons

This morning, Mr Zelenskyy is set to address the European Parliament in what will be his third stop on a surprise trip across the continent.

While Mr Zelenskyy is unlikely to secure immediate pledges to satisfy his requests, this will be his first opportunity to make the case in person to EU member states since the war began almost a year ago.

It follows a powerful speech in Westminster Hall on Wednesday, followed by talks with the leaders of France and Germany over dinner in Paris.

Rishi Sunak has said “nothing is off the table” when it comes to assisting the war effort in Ukraine and fighter jets “are part of the conversation”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands after meeting Ukrainian troops being trained to command Challenger 2 tanks at a military facility in Lulworth, Dorset. Picture date: Wednesday February 8, 2023.

Mr Zelenskyy received a standing ovation after his speech.

Later at a military site in Dorset alongside the Ukrainian president, the prime minister was asked “to provide absolute clarity” on whether Ukraine will receive jets from the UK and, if so, when.

“We’ve been very clear and we’ve been clear for a long time that when it comes to the provision of military assistance to Ukraine, nothing is off the table,” Mr Sunak said.

“When it comes to fighter combat aircraft of course they are part of the conversation.”

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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy meets King Charles

‘More military assistance needed’

After the Western world came together to agree on sending tanks to Ukraine, Kyiv is requesting warplanes to repel the Russian invasion.

Mr Zelenskyy told the news conference that without more military assistance “there will be stagnation, these people [Russian soldiers] will be living on our territory and this poses great risk to all of the world”.

Downing Street said the prime minister has asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to investigate what warplanes the UK could supply but stressed any potential move to do so would not happen immediately.

But according to Professor Michael Clarke, a defence and security analyst, the UK “doesn’t have” the right sort of jets to offer.

This is Mr Zelenskyy’s second trip outside Ukraine since Russia invaded last February.

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After visiting parliament, he travelled to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the King and later visited Lulworth Camp in Dorset with Mr Sunak, to meet Ukrainian troops being trained by the British Army.

Following his talks with Mr Macron and Mr Scholz, he said: “France and Germany have the potential to be game changers and that’s how I see our talks.

“The sooner we get heavy long-range weapons and our pilots get modern planes … the quicker this Russian aggression will end.”

Also on the agenda during Mr Zelenskyy’s visit to Brussels will be a discussion on Ukraine joining the European Union.