Man pleads guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter over Essex lorry deaths

Maurice Robinson (25), of Craigavon, Co Armagh, appeared at Old Bailey via video link

Maurice Robinson (25) from Co Armagh has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 people who were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex last year.

Maurice Robinson (25) from Co Armagh has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 people who were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex last year.

 

A Northern Irish man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 people who were found dead in a refrigerated truck in Essex, England last year.

Maurice Robinson (25), of Craigavon, Co Armagh, made his guilty plea in relation to the deaths on or before October 24th last via video link at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.

The bodies of eight females and 31 males were discovered by emergency services at an industrial estate in Grays shortly after a container arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium in the early hours of October 23rd last.

The victims were later identified to have come from Vietnam, with the youngest being two boys aged 15.

Robinson previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property.

He denied a further charge of transferring criminal property on Wednesday. The prosecution asked for three weeks to consider whether to go ahead with a trial on that charge.

Robinson was jointly charged with Gheorghe Nica (43), of Mimosa Close in Langdon Hills, who denied 39 counts of manslaughter. He also denied one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, (27), of Hobart Road in Tilbury, denies a charge of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Christopher Kennedy (23), of Corkley Road in Darkley, Co Armagh, has previously denied conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Valentin Calota (37), of Cossington Road in Birmingham, was not asked to enter a plea to the charge of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.

Prosecutor William Emlyn Jones QC said a human trafficking conspiracy charge was being dropped in relation to Robinson and Mr Kennedy.

Mr Jones asked for three weeks to decide whether to proceed with a trial against Robinson on the outstanding charge he faced.

The other defendants face a trial at the Old Bailey lasting up to eight weeks from October 5th. - PA