A British sailor has been jailed for four years and nine months for smuggling 17 immigrants into a south coast marina – as it emerged he is wanted in connection with a murder in Spain.
Stephen Jackson, 51, was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to assisting unlawful immigration by sailing a boat-load of Albanian men aged 20-44 into Chichester Marina in West Sussex on May 23.
At Lewes Crown Court, it was revealed that a European Arrest Warrant has been issued for Jackson for allegedly perverting the course of justice in connection with a murder in Spain.
The case reportedly relates to the disappearance of 32-year-old Scot Lisa Brown, originally from Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire, who was last seen in November last year.
Sentencing Jackson, Judge Guy Anthony said he had been “caught red-handed”.
Dressed in a dark suit and tie, Jackson stared blankly ahead as he was sentenced.
He acknowledged a woman sitting behind him in the public gallery before he was jailed.
The judge said: “The scale of illegal immigration is something that has attracted a lot of publicity, but there are not many cases where somebody is involved in bringing in that many people in one go.”
Judge Anthony said the Albanians were transported in cramped conditions. Prosecutor Martha Walsh gave few details about Jackson’s European Arrest Warrant but said the 10-metre-long boat he used in the smuggling bid was suitable to carry only between six and eight passengers.
She said: “On May 23 this year, a boat called Fortunella, which was a catamaran, was seen off the Isle of Wight and it was making its way to Chichester harbour.
“It was initially stopped, however the marine patrol communicated with the vessel and asked the captain to identify himself, and he gave the name Stephen Jackson.
“They ran a check through the police national computer and it said he was wanted on a European Arrest Warrant.
Ms Walsh said Jackson faces a hearing in connection with the European Arrest Warrant at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 11.
In mitigation, Sedgefield-born Jackson’s defence counsel, Gregory Fishwick, said his client made an immediate confession and described him as a man of “positive good character”.