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CRIME

Frenchwoman found in shallow grave in London garden

British detectives were conducting a murder probe on Friday after finding the body of a Frenchwoman buried in a shallow grave in the garden of her London home.

Frenchwoman found in shallow grave in London garden
File photo: Leon Neal/AFP
The corpse of Laureline Garcia-Bertaux, 34, who reportedly worked as a film producer, was discovered in her back garden in southwest London on Wednesday.
 
She was reported missing after she failed to turn up for work on Monday, police said. She worked for the public relations firm Golin.
 
Police said that while a formal identification was yet to take place, Garcia-Bertaux's family had been informed.
 
Originally from Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, she graduated from the Central Saint Martins art school in London.
 
Her friend Daniel Hughes told Britain's domestic Press Association news agency that she had been due to meet a man for coffee on Sunday evening and was meant to move out of the house on Monday.
 
Hughes, who worked with Garcia-Bertaux at the Discovery Channel, said she lived alone with two dogs.
 
“She's tall, got a lot of presence. Always very friendly, very talkative, would never have hurt anyone,” he said. “Got a lot of confidence and passion, a lovely lady. She had a lot of friends as well.”
 
Actress Joan Collins, 85, who worked with her on the short film “Gerry” last year, told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I'm shocked by the horrifying news. Laureline was passionate about film. I enjoyed our collaboration and thought she had a great future.”
 
Police said: “A forensic crime scene is in place. There have been no arrests.”

CRIME

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

French police have busted a major people-smuggling ring that has been sending migrants to Britain in dinghies, with more than a dozen boats and 700 life jackets seized in a raid, French authorities said Thursday.

French police bust cross-Channel people-smuggling ring

The ring was run by Iraqi Kurdish migrants and had a logistics hub in Lille, a northern French city about 100 kilmetres (60 miles) from the northern Channel beaches around Calais that are used for crossings.

Three Iraqi men have been charged, along with three French suspects after their arrest on Monday.

Police discovered “a real factory supplying nautical equipment” in Lille, the head of French anti-migration agency Ocriest, Xavier Delrieu, told AFP.

In what was their biggest ever seizure of equipment, they found 13 inflatable boats, 14 outboard engines, 700 life jackets, 100 pumps and 700 litres of fuel, Delrieu said.

The group is suspected of having organised 80 Channel crossings over the summer, of which 50 succeeded, with the smugglers netting around €80,000 for each one.

The arrests came due to intelligence-sharing between authorities in Belgium, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, who are all trying to crack down on migrants crossing the Channel by boat.

The original tip-off came after a border guard control discovered a group of French youths carrying inflatables from Germany into the Netherlands.

More migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK from northern France so far this year than in the whole of 2021.

So far this year, more than 30,000 people have been detected crossing the Channel to the UK, fresh government figures showed Thursday. On Wednesday alone, the authorities detected another 667 people.

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has faced some criticism from other Conservatives and in right-wing media outlets for not pressing for more French action against the crossings when she met President Emmanuel Macron in New York on Tuesday.

Downing Street said the issue did not come up at their talks on the margins of the UN General Assembly, which instead focused on common ground including Ukraine and energy security.

The crossings are among a host of issues that have badly strained Franco-British relations in recent years.

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