Haulier pleads GUILTY to manslaughter of Vietnamese migrants
Haulier, 40, pleads GUILTY to manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants who were found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex
- Ronan Hughes, 40, of Co Armagh, accused of involvement in people smuggling
- Bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals discovered in a lorry in Grays, Essex in 2019
- The haulier from Northern Ireland has pleaded guilty to their manslaughter
Ronan Hughes, 40, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Vietnamese migrants who were found dead in a lorry container in Essex
A haulier has admitted killing 39 Vietnamese migrants who died in the back of a refrigerated lorry travelling into Britain.
Ronan Hughes, 40, was part of an international ring ferrying non-EU citizens into the country.
He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to the manslaughter of eight women, two boys and 29 who were found in the back of a truck driven by Maurice Robinson, 25, in an industrial estate near Grays, Essex.
Hughes also admitted conspiracy to assist in unlawful immigration.
He appeared in the dock alongside Eamonn Harrison, 23, who is accused of driving the trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before it sailed to Purfleet in Essex.
The 23-year-old was arrested at Dublin Port as he returned from France last 26 October before the pair were extradited from the Republic of Ireland.
Harrison denied 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist in unlawful immigration.
The victims including 10 teenagers have been identified as coming from various provinces of Vietnam with the youngest being two boys aged 15.
They died from a lack of oxygen and overheating in an enclosed space, an inquest heard.
It had been alleged that Hughes played a leading role in the operation, with his trailers (pictured, the truck which carried the migrants) and drivers used to transport migrants
The discovery was made shortly after the container arrived in Purfleet, Essex on October 23 last year.
The court heard four other men accused of involvement in the tragedy were waiting in the cells downstairs to maintain social distancing in the dock and will appear later today.
Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, said at an earlier hearing: ‘There are three trips in particular that comprise the substantive part of that conspiracy.
Eamon Harrison, 23, from County Down, is the man believed to have delivered the ill-fated container to Zeebrugge, Belgium, and was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter today. Mo Robinson, 25, who picked it up, has already appeared in court accused of the same thing
‘There are the events were sadly 39 people were found dead and there are two further trips where Mr Kennedy was the driver and it is one of those trips which Mr Nuzi was in.
‘The lorry would arrive at Purfleet docks were a trailer would be waiting. That would be driven to Collingwood Farm.
It is not a built-up area, it is near a golf course.’
The Old Bailey heard prosecutors claim there would be a fleet of vehicles waiting for the migrants at the site.
Dozens of migrants who died here in Essex (pictured) are believed to be from Vietnam travelling on fake Chinese passports.
Police in Hanoi arrested two people linked to the trafficking plot today
Robinson, of Laurel Drive, Craigavon, Northern Ireland, has admitted 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist in unlawful immigration but denies transferring criminal property.
Romanian national Alexandru Hanga, 27, of Hobart Road, Tilbury, has admitted conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.
British-Romanian Gheorghe Nica, 43, denies the manslaughter offences and faces a trial expected to last between six to eight weeks starting on 5 October at the Old Bailey.
He also denies a count of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019.
Pham Tra My, 26, has been confirmed as among the 39 people who died in a lorry in Essex
Fifteen-year-old Nguyen Huy Hung (left) was the youngest of the group, 10 of whom were teenagers. Nguyen Dinh Lurong, 20, (right) was also named among those who died
The victims were were from five provinces in the central, coastal area of Vietnam and two provinces near Hanoi
Christopher Kennedy, 23, of Corkley Road, Northern Ireland, has denied conspiring to commit human trafficking and assisting unlawful immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019.
Nica, of Mimosa Close, Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex, denies 39 counts of manslaughter and one of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.
Gazmir Nuzi, 42, from Tottenham, north London, denies conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law by a non-EU person.
Harrison, from Mayobridge, County Down, is charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration along with Hughes, from County Armagh in the Republic of Ireland.
Valentin Calota, 37, of Cossington Road, Birmingham is yet to enter any pleas to a charge of conspiring to smuggle non-EU nationals into the UK, contrary to immigration law, between May 1 2018 and October 24 2019.
Who were the 39 people who died in the Esssex lorry container?
These are the names of the victims of the Essex truck tragedy are:
Pham Thi Tra My, a 26-year-old woman from Ha Tinh
Nguyen Dinh Lurong, a 20-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Nguyen Huy Phong, a 35-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Vo Nhan Du, a 19-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Tran Manh Hung, a 37-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Tran Khanh Tho, a 18-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Vo Van Linh, a 25-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Nguyen Van Nhan, a 33-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Bui Phan Thang, a 37-year-old man from Ha Tinh
Nguyen Huy Hung, a 15-year-old boy from Ha Tinh
Tran Thi Tho, a 21-year-old woman from Nghe An
Bui Thi Nhung, a 19-year-old woman from Nghe An
Vo Ngoc Nam, a 28-year-old man from Nghe An
Nguyen Dinh Tu, a 26-year-old man from Nghe An
Le Van Ha, a 30-year-old man from Nghe An
Tran Thi Ngoc, a 19-year-old woman from Nghe An
Nguyen Van Hung, a 33-year-old man from Nghe An
Hoang Van Tiep, a 18-year-old man from Nghe An
Cao Tien Dung, a 37-year-old man from Nghe An
Cao Huy Thanh, a 33-year-old man from Nghe An
Tran Thi Mai Nhung, a 18-year-old woman from Nghe An
Nguyen Minh Quang, a 20-year-old man from Nghe An
Le Trong Thanh, a 44-year-old man from Dien Chau
Pham Thi Ngoc Oanh, a 28-year-old woman from Nghe An
Hoang Van Hoi, a 24-year-old man from Nghe An
Nguyen Tho Tuan, a 25-year-old man from Nghe An
Dang Huu Tuyen, a 22-year-old man from Nghe An
Nguyen Trong Thai, a 26-year-old man from Nghe An
Nguyen Van Hiep, a 24-year-old man from Nghe An
Nguyen Thi Van, a 35-year-old woman from Nghe An
Tran Hai Loc, a 35-year-old man from Nghe An
Duong Minh Tuan, a 27-year-old man from Quang Binh
Nguyen Ngoc Ha, a 32-year-old man from Quang Binh
Nguyen Tien Dung, a 33-year-old man from Quang, Binh
Phan Thi Thanh, a 41-year-old woman from Hai Phong
Nguyen Ba Vu Hung, a 34-year-old man from Thua Tien Hue
Dinh Dinh Thai Quyen, a 18-year-old man from Hai Phong
Tran Ngoc Hieu, a 17-year-old boy from Hai Duong
Dinh Dinh Binh, a 15-year-old boy from Hai Phong