The Daily Mail has been criticised for allowing readers on its Facebook page to comment celebrating the death of a refugee from Sudan.
The boy, believe to be Sudanese, washed up on a shore near Calais on Wednesday morning after trying to cross the English Channel in a makeshift inflatable raft.
News outlets are reporting the unnamed teenager could not swim and drowned moments after taking off from Calais at 1.09am.
Several Daily Mail readers appeared to rejoice at the news. A man giving the name Robert Simpson said that the boy’s death made ‘our kids safe from one of them’ in a comment on the paper’s Facebook page.
Another, John Fox, wrote: ‘So? One less we will have to keep and pay for.’
Mark Sheenan added: ‘That’s the risk they take. Not my problem.’
A fourth, going by the name Ian Jarrett, said ‘cry me a river’, while David Rochford lamented that ‘just one’ migrant had died.
In a separate post, readers celebrated a migrant who arrived on a boat being assaulted in Kent.
The comments provoked a swift backlash online.
‘I can’t even bring myself to look at the screen shots,’ Mike said referring to a screengrab of the comments by The DM reporter.
‘How you manage to trawl through the posts to bring us this I’ll never know. Go well and good mental health to you all.’
Lou Hannah said: ‘This makes me weep. How vile some people are and if they have kids/grandkids there is a vicious circle of hatred and intolerance being taught.’
Janie Lindsay added: ‘I know I shouldn’t be surprised by attitudes of @DailyMailUK readers, but some of the utter lack of compassion here shocks me to the core.’
Hilary Andrew described feeling a heavy heart after reading the posts. ‘Do they realise these are actual people they are laughing about?’ she asked sombrely.
Tori said: ‘Unfathomable. Will never understand the inherent selfishness of others, it must be hard-wired. I just hope they never need assistance from a stranger…’
Refugee advocate group Choose Love, which has raised millions to help refugees stuck in Calais, described the news as ‘heartbreaking’.
In a statement on Twitter, the group said: ‘A child has died in the English Channel. If only our politicians cared about protecting human lives as much as they care about protecting borders.
‘No one should have to risk their life to be safe or with loved ones. We desperately need safe, legal routes to stop more tragedies.’
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the Labour MP for Streatham, added: ‘A completely avoidable tragedy, which is inseparable from the government’s failure to offer safe & legal routes to refugees fleeing desperate conditions. How many more deaths will it take for the Home Office to start treating refugees like human beings?’
Home secretary Priti Patel labelled the death ‘an upsetting and tragic loss of a young life’.
She added: ‘This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.’