Man accused of trying to smuggle illegal immigrant into UK to begin defence

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

John Lockwood's defence case is expected to start on Thursday - Credit: ARCHANT

A Trimley man accused of being part of gang which tried to smuggle an illegal immigrant into the UK in a hidden compartment in the back of van is expected to begin his defence case today.

John Lockwood, 32, has denied assisting in the unlawful immigration of an Albanian national between October 14 and 17, 2019, by arranging with others for him to hide in the back of a van on a P&O ferry at Dover.

Ipswich Crown Court previously heard how Lockwood, of Mill Lane, Trimley St Martin, was with three other men, including Richard Halls, from Melton, in Rosehill Road, Ipswich, looking into the rear of the van with torches the day before it was driven to Dover to catch a ferry to Calais. 

The next day Halls drove the van to a car park at Ipswich Hospital and allegedly met up with Lockwood who was driving a VW pickup truck.

Halls took a toolbox from the pickup and put it in the van and Lockwood was then allegedly seen to drive off in the van before it was driven to Dover by Elliott Thompson of Ipswich Road, Stowmarket.

The court has heard that Richard Halls, 39, of St Andrews Place, Melton, Thompson and three other men had admitted the charge at earlier hearings.

Lockwood's defence case will begin on Thursday and he will have the opportunity to give evidence from the witness box. 

The trial continues.