Aid worker given suspended fine for trying to smuggle Afghan girl into UK


A British aid worker has been given a suspended fine of 1,000 euros (£750) by a court in France for trying to smuggle an Afghan girl into Britain.

Former soldier Rob Lawrie, 49, feared being jailed for up to five years and had appealed for clemency after admitting trying to get four-year-old Bahar Ahmadi - known as Bru - into the UK hidden in his van in October.

In a packed hearing at the Tribunal Grande Instance in Boulogne on Thursday, Mr Lawrie, who suffers from bipolar disorder and Tourette's Syndrome, told how his business had failed, his marriage had broken down and he had tried to kill himself since his arrest.

He said he had acted stupidly in hiding Bru in a sleeping compartment but had simply been trying to take her from The Jungle refugee camp to family members already living legally near him in the UK.

Judge Louis-Benoit Betermiez ordered the father-of-four from Leeds to pay the fine for endangering the child's life but suspended it for five years as long as Mr Lawrie commits no further crime in France.

There was a huge round of applause from his supporters as he broke down in tears in court.