Folkestone:Man Admits Obstructing Chunnel

A Sudanese man who walked through nearly the entire length of the Channel Tunnel to try to get to Britain from France has admitted obstructing the railway line.

Abdul Rahman Haroun, was granted permission to stay in Britain after being caught near the end of the 31-mile long tunnel in August last year.

The 40-year-old changed his plea to guilty ahead of a trial at Canterbury Crown Court.

Judge Adele Williams sentenced him to nine months in jail but freed him due to time he has already spent in custody. Sentencing Haroun, the judge told him: "You not only put your own life in danger but, in my judgment, you put the lives and safety of others in danger.''

Risking death by dodging high-speed trains, Haroun walked through the Channel Tunnel towards waiting British police officers on the Kent side at around 6pm.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said: "He was asked how he had got into the tunnel and he said 'I came from France, always trying to get here'.''

He said he jumped over the perimeter fence by himself before "walking sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left'' in the tunnel, Mr Bennetts said.

Up until then, his perilous journey had involved travelling for a month to Egypt, then Libya before crossing the sea to Italy, a previous hearing was told. He then made his way to France and Calais.

In an interview with the Home Office, Haroun described how he had been persecuted by the Janjaweed militia, forcing him to flee his home in 2004. After reaching France, Haroun spent up to seven days in Calais before walking through the tunnel.

Speaking through an interpreter, he told police following his arrest: "I came here for protection and to be safe. I didn't have any orders ... there wasn't any other solution.''

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