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Truck driver involved in death of 39 migrants in reefer container admits plot

PortandTerminal.com, November 26, 2019

The truck driver who is accused over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants who froze to death in a reefer container in England has admitted plotting to assist illegal immigration.

ESSEX, ENGLAND – Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty at a courthouse in London to conspiring with others to assist illegal immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019.

The 25-year-old, from County Armagh, is accused of being part of a larger plot to bring people into the UK illegally.

The bodies of 39 Vietnamese migrants were discovered in a refrigerated container driven by the accused in October. Two of the dead were just fifteen-years-old

Mr Robinson was not asked to plead to 39 charges of manslaughter.

The charges relate to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people, who were discovered in the back of a refrigerated lorry being driven by Mr Robinson on 23 October. The group were made up of eight women, three boys and 28 men. The eldest was 44 and the youngest were two of the boys aged just 15.

Mr Robinson, who appeared via video-link from prison, also admitted acquiring criminal property – namely cash – between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019.

As well as the manslaughter charges, Mr Robinson is accused of conspiracy to commit human trafficking offences and transferring criminal property.

Robinson was remanded into custody until a further hearing on 13 December.

Police have also launched extradition proceedings to bring Eamonn Harrison, 22, from Ireland to the UK. He appeared at Dublin’s central criminal court last Thursday after he was arrested on a European arrest warrant in respect of 39 counts of manslaughter, one count of a human trafficking offence and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.

Harrison is accused of driving the lorry with the refrigerated container to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was collected in Essex by Robinson.

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