Cousins accused of trafficking offences after man falls from minibus on M6 are cleared

Charges against an Italian aid worker and her cousin accused of trafficking a man into the UK to be exploited have been dropped.

Thursday, 8th March 2018, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th March 2018, 2:25 pm
Crime news

Luiza Ramona Rugina, 36, and Dinu Huma, 48, both of no fixed address, were formally cleared before Judge Beverley Lunt at Barrow Crown Court.

The pair were arrested after a man was injured following an incident on the M6 on Sunday, September 3.

Officers were called at around 1.50pm to reports a man had fallen onto the carriageway from a minibus which was travelling north between junctions 33 and 34 at Lancaster.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital with a serious head injury but managed to give a statement to police.

A previous magistrates' court hearing was told the man claimed he had overheard disturbing conversations between the pair, alleged they had watched footage of gay pornography, causing him to fear that was the real reason for him being in the country.

The man also claimed he heard the defendants discussing paying for a chemical that would 'melt his teeth' and kill him.

It is understood the five European people travelling on the minibus had travelled around 3,000 miles from Romania to work at a car wash in Barrow for £30 a day.

It is not in itself illegal for someone with the correct papers from Romania to work in the UK, but it was originally alleged Huma and Rugina were going to exploit him, which is a criminal offence under trafficking laws.

Rugina, works as a lorry driver for the Red Cross in Italy, where she lives with her husband. She had said she had travelled with her distant cousin, Huma, to visit her brother who lives in the UK and "vehemently denied" involvement in trafficking.

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed the case has been discontinued.