Percy Wacker (easy version)

in england, in 2001, Percy Wacker, a 33-year-old truck driver was sent to jail for fourteen years. That was his punishment for causing the deaths of 58 Chinese people. They had died in the back of Percy's truck while it was on a ferry, crossing from Belgium to England. At the same time, Ying Guo, who was thirty, was sent to jail for six years. She had been planning to help the people in the truck after they had got into England.

Percy and Ying Guo were working with a group of ‘people smugglers.’ These people were working together in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Eight other members of the group were also arrested along with Percy and Ying Guo.

Percy was going to be paid about US$35,000 for driving the truck from Rotterdam to Belgium and then taking it to England on the ferry. When Percy got to the ferry, he closed the air opening on the side of the truck so no one would hear the people inside. This was the only opening; once it was closed, no more fresh air could get in.

Then, while the ferry crossed the water, Percy had a meal and watched two movies.

While Percy was enjoying himself, the people inside the truck got hotter and hotter. First they took off their clothes. Then they started drinking water to try to stay cool. When they had finished all their water, they started to eat tomatoes. (A large load of tomatoes had been put in the back of the truck to hide the people.)

As time passed, the oxygen in the back of the truck began to run out. The space inside slowly filled up with poisonous carbon dioxide, and the people began to find it hard to breathe. They realized that, if they couldn’t get fresh air quickly, they were going to die. The ones who still had enough strength made noise by hitting the side of the truck. They hoped that someone outside would hear and bring help. Some others who weren’t strong enough to make noise, just sat down and held hands and waited.

- information from: The Guardian, (London, England) 03.02.12, (Max Daly); The Guardian, (London, England) 04.08.31 (Simon Mayhew);

ferry:
a boat that carries people, cars, etc back and forth over the same route

smuggle:
take something secretly and illegally across a border between two countries

oxygen:
the gas humans and animals need to live. (21% of the air we breathe)

carbon dioxide:
a poisonous gas made by breathing and in other ways. (under 1% of air)