Police update on Warrington couple held over deaths of 39 people found in back of lorry

A couple from Warrington arrested in connection with the deaths of 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry have been released under investigation. Haulage boss Thomas and Joanna Maher, 39 and 38, from Woolston, had been quizzed on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. They were detained  in October, two days after the Vietnamese nationals– the youngest aged just 15 – were found dead in the HGV in Grays, Essex.

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It followed a home being raided on Wiltshire Close in Woolston in connection with the investigation, with two Range Rovers, a Chevrolet sports car and a motorbike seized.

Ms Maher has previously been revealed as the owner of the Scania truck that was registered in the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna in 2018. In interviews, the couple insisted they sold the lorry cab a year ago to a company in Ireland. Ms Maher said: “We did own it but sold it 13 months ago.

It’s the cab – my name was down as owning it.” They claim they sold it to a company in County Monaghan, close to where truck driver Mo, or Maurice, Robinson, 25, lives. Mr Maher said he sold it on 3 October last year and said the couple owned it for just a year.

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Thomas said: “It’s disgusting what’s happened.

“I went to the British police as we were the registered owners in Bulgaria. I phoned them myself. “They were happy we had come forward.

They are well aware of who they are dealing with.

The lorry being driven away for examination

“It’s not nice to be associated with this. We’re shocked.” Mrs Maher registered the vehicle at a run down 10-storey building in the seaside resort of Varna.

Lorry driver Mo Robinson has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of the 39 migrants in the refrigerated trailer.

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In November he admitted plotting to assist illegal immigration.

The Northern Irish man is also accused of conspiracy to traffic people and money laundering.

Today, a spokesman for Essex Police said: “A 39-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman from Warrington and a 46-year-old man from Northern Ireland, who were bailed until Friday, January 24, have since been released under investigation.”

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