Horror as woman, 24, who wanted to claim asylum in UK found dead on beach

A young migrant woman who wanted to claim asylum in Britain has been found dead on a beach in France after falling off a small boat and drowning. 

French authorities believe the Eritrean national, 24, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning after going into the sea off a small vessel attempting to cross the Channel. 

The woman, who has not been named, is thought to have drowned. Her death comes as the Home Secretary Suella Braverman is set to make a key speech in the US later today on migration.

Ms Braverman is expected to say that no migrant making the Channel crossing is in “imminent peril” and that “seeking asylum and seeking better economic prospects are not the same thing”.

In France an investigating source said: “Her body was found at around 5.40am on Blériot beach, in Calais, following a night of intense activity involving migrants crossing to England.

“Another migrant found her and alerted the authorities. Prosecutors in Boulogne have established that she was a 24-year-old Eritrean who was hoping to claim asylum in the United Kingdom. They have opened a criminal investigation.

“Medical examinations are still being carried out, but she undoubtedly died from drowning after falling off a boat.

“A request for assistance has been sent to the British authorities, to find witnesses on board the boat she was on. It is believed to have reached the United Kingdom.”

The woman is the latest fatal casualty on the extremely dangerous crossing between northern France and Britain. People smugglers organise the journeys, charging the equivalent of up to £1000-a-time.

According to the French authorities, there was no sinking recorded in the English Channel overnight from Monday to Tuesday.

But two successful crossings were reported , one at 1.45am with 50 migrants on board the boat, and another at 2.39am, with 40 migrants on board.

There were also three attempted crossings, one on the beach at the hamlet of Hemmes-les-Marck, which resulted in the arrest of a migrant and a German national for transporting nautical equipment.

The Home Secretary Suella Braverman will use a speech in the US later to declare that no migrant crossing the Channel to Britain is in “imminent peril”.

Ms Braverman is expected to say that “seeking asylum and seeking better economic prospects are not the same thing” as she takes aim at the United Nations’ Refugee Convention.

The Cabinet minister is tasked with helping to deliver the Prime Minister’s pledge of stopping the boats from crossing the Channel, one of five that Rishi Sunak hopes to deliver ahead of a likely election next year.

Mrs Braverman will tell a Washington DC audience on Tuesday that offering asylum to a person because they are gay, a woman or fearing discrimination in their home country is not sustainable.

She will highlight that the UK and the US, among others, interpret the 1951 UN convention’s stipulation for refugees to “present themselves without delay to the authorities” as meaning that “people should seek refuge and claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach” something she will argue is not always happening.

In a pre-briefed extract of her speech, Mrs Braverman will say: “The status quo, where people are able to travel through multiple safe countries, and even reside in safe countries for years, while they pick their preferred destination to claim asylum, is absurd and unsustainable.”

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