Credit – Sky News
Charles Lynch, an escaped convict who was on the run for almost three decades, is back behind bars in the UK after smuggling migrants across the English Channel in his motor cruiser.
Lynch was jailed by Portsmouth Crown Court for three years and eight months.
Two Border Force patrol vessels, as well as a coastguard helicopter were involved in the high-speed sea chase on 6 November 2019, eventually managing to stop Lynch’s boat just short of the coast of England.
Aboard the vessel, Border Force officers discovered eight Albanian migrants; five men, two women and a child, as well as Lynch, who pled guilty to assisting unlawful immigration.
Originally, Lynch told officers he was a German national by the name of Wolfram Steidl, but was later found out to be an escaped convict, who had escaped from Maidstone jail in Kent in 1992 and been on the run ever since.
He was only a year into his seven-year prison sentence for theft, fraud and forgery when he fled from Maidstone prison.
His UK criminal record had dozens of previous convictions, mostly for theft and fraud, dating back to 1971 and had at least forty known aliases.
Lynch spoke multiple languages, NCA investigators believe he used those skills and some of his many aliases to evade the authorities during his long time on the run.
He was found in possession of multiple false identity documents, including a Danish driving license and Romanian ID card.
Authorities were alerted to Lynch’s vessel, the 46ft motor cruiser, because of the high speed it was doing, when he tried to cross the English Channel under cover of darkness.
In 2019, almost 1,900 migrants were caught as they tried to cross the English channel to the UK, most in rubber dinghies that are not suited for the task.
This year already, around 300 migrants have attempted to make the perilous trip to cross through one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
The National Crime Agency is working with colleagues on the continent to try to disrupt organised criminal gangs, who are trafficking the migrants for up £10,000 per person.