Police search Bucks home after man, 66, firebombs Dover migrant centre then kills himself

31 October 2022, 16:04 | Updated: 2 November 2022, 08:49

Fire breaks out at the Dover processing centre
Fire breaks out at the Dover processing centre. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Police investigating the attack on an immigration centre in Dover have begun searching a property in Buckinghamshire.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A man was seen laughing before he he threw three petrol bombs at the Western Jet Foil migrant processing centre at the Port of Dover before taking his own life on Sunday.

Kent Police and Thames Valley Police have now carried out a warrant at a property in High Wycombe.

The suspect, who was found dead at a petrol station near the facility, is a 66-year-old man from Wycombe, which is more than 100 miles away.

A white man in a striped top drove up to the centre in a white SEAT sports utility vehicle before hurling the missiles.

Police said that the man got out of his car and threw three petrol bombs. Two people received minor injuries, officers said.

They said the incident is not being treated as terror-related.

The man was later found dead.

Police officers at the scene
Police officers at the scene. Picture: Alamy

An eyewitness said he saw the man laughing while he carried out the terrifying attack.

Gary Smith told The Sun: "I was walking over a nearby bridge and I could see him throwing the bombs. They were making loud bangs. I think he threw about four or five. 

"He was just laughing while he was doing it. It was crazy."

Another witness told Kent Online: "I heard what I thought was cannons going off and thought it must have been an event.

Read more: Under fire Braverman admits forwarding work documents to personal phone six times

"We paused the TV to hear. There were at least six or seven.

"To think it was actually explosions that we heard is just so upsetting. I really hope no one is hurt."

It is understood the man then drove off and killed himself. Kent Police said the suspect had been identified and located, confirming on Sunday evening at about 7pm that they had found him dead.

Natalie Elphicke doesn't share the 'Rwanda dream'

Another eyewitness, Mark Williamson, 59, an international lorry driver from Leeds said he saw the suspect just after the attack.

"I was going to meet my mate for a coffee and I saw the fella in the white vehicle sort of hanging out the window," he told Mail Online.

"The next minute, armed response turned up. It was surreal."

Read more: Eco mob targets MI5 as fight breaks out when protester tries to coat high-security HQ in orange paint

Police officers with the car allegedly used by the suspect
Police officers with the car allegedly used by the suspect. Picture: Alamy

About 700 migrants were moved from the Dover unit to the processing centre in Manston, in north-east Kent in the aftermath of the attack.

The motive for the attack remains unclear.

Immigration Minister set to go to Dover and Manston

Read more: Nearly 1,000 migrants arrive in UK in single day amid claims Suella ignored advice she was detaining people unlawfully

Read more: Nation in mourning after at least 153 dead and over 80 injured in Seoul Halloween crush

A group of people thought to be migrants at the processing centre in Dover following the incident
A group of people thought to be migrants at the processing centre in Dover following the incident. Picture: Alamy
The fire brigade confirmed they extinguished a fire
The fire brigade confirmed they extinguished a fire. Picture: Alamy

Footage shared on social media shows a fire at the gates of the immigration centre.

Nathalie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, told LBC the incident was "very shocking" but said tensions at the facility had been rising.

"This is a well-known facility, it's the place where boats, small boats, arrive before people are taken to nearby reception facilities at Manston," she said on Sunday.

"We don't know the motivation of the individual concerned yet so I wouldn't want to speculate on that, but I think it is fair to say that tensions have been running high over the last period and indeed I've raised my concerns about that with the immigration minister earlier this week."

She went on: "Last Sunday, just a week ago, we had an incident where two boats had arrived on the beach at Dover and the people who were in them... went into a nearby residential area [and] entered a house... tensions have been raised over the last week and yesterday we saw 990 arrivals."

She said the attack was "absolutely dreadful" and that people at the centre were being looked after.

Home secretary Suella Braverman called the attack "a distressing incident".

Ms Braverman came under fire after it was alleged she knowingly detained asylum seekers for longer than is legal.

The recently reinstated home secretary was told at least three weeks ago that migrants were being kept in overcrowded centres in Manston, in Kent, for unlawful lengths of time, the Sunday Times reported, citing five sources.

Migrants are not supposed to be kept in the processing centres for more than 24 hours under UK laws, while they undergo initial checks.

Some 2,600 migrants have been kept for more than four weeks in the centres - only designed to house 1,600.

Tory MP Natalie Elphicke says Dover attack wasn't expected but 'tensions have been raised'

Bomb disposal teams are at the scene
Bomb disposal teams are at the scene. Picture: Alamy
The car allegedly involved in the incident
The car allegedly involved in the incident. Picture: Alamy
An aerial view of the emergency service presence
An aerial view of the emergency service presence. Picture: Alamy

It comes after nearly 1,000 migrants crossed the English Channel and arrived in Dover on Saturday.

Huge lines of people, thought to be migrants, could be seen waiting to be processed at the Border Force compound in Dover, Kent, as a total of 990 arrived.

Processing continued on Sunday before the attack happened.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Donald Trump

Donald Trump back at New York civil fraud trial as testimony nears end

Will it snow this weekend/?

When is it going to snow next? Met Office verdict on weekend weather

Shane MacGowan's wife has given an update ahead of the star's funeral on Friday.

‘My heart is bursting open with love’: Shane MacGowan’s wife gives emotional update ahead of Pogues star’s funeral

Full dates of 2024 bank holidays

When is the next bank holiday? Full list of 2024 dates

The family of Ruth Perry said "urgent lessons" must be learned after a coroner concluded an Ofsted inspection contributed to her taking her own life.

Ruth Perry's family hits out at 'perverse, inhumane' Ofsted system as inquiry finds it 'likely contributed' to her death

Smoke rises following an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel

Strikes on Gaza’s southern edge sow fear in one of last areas people can flee to

Dame Esther is set to step down from her presidency as she battles lung cancer.

Dame Esther Rantzen steps down as Childline president after terminal lung cancer diagnosis

Buildings were damaged by a massive explosion on Mahe, Seychelles

Seychelles declares state of emergency after explosion amid destructive flooding

The prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann case is finding it difficult being accused of her kidnapping.

Madeleine McCann prime suspect 'struggling with pressure of being accused of one of most infamous crimes'

Prince Harry told the High Court he and Meghan were 'forced' to leave the UK

‘The UK is my home and Meghan and I were forced to leave,’ Prince Harry says in High Court security battle

Holly Willoughby is offered 'big money' deal with return to Dancing On Ice

Holly Willoughby to be offered 'big money' deal to return as Dancing On Ice co-host

Boris Johnson gives evidence to the Covid Inquiry

Boris Johnson tells Covid Inquiry he 'could not have done more' to stop Downing Street parties

This is the moment a Ulez camera explodes.

Shocking moment Ulez camera explodes after being targeted by anti-Ulez activists

APTOPIX Campus Shooting Las Vegas

Gunman dead after killing three in attack at Las Vegas university

Phillip Schofield quit This Morning earlier this year

ITV 'did not cover-up evidence of Phillip Schofield's affair with This Morning runner before star quit,' review finds

A British Airways flight had a near-miss with a drone, a new report has revealed.

British Airways flight carrying 216 passengers missed illegal drone by just 20ft while 3,000ft in the air over Windsor