Essex

Essex lorry deaths: Vietnamese police charge seven people

Pham Thi Tra My and Nguyen Dinh Luong
Image caption Pham Thi Tra My, 26, and Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, were among the victims

Seven people have been charged in Vietnam by police investigating the deaths of 39 migrants whose bodies were found in a lorry in Essex.

The 31 males and eight women were discovered in a refrigerated trailer in Grays on 23 October.

The five men and two women are accused of "organising or broking others to flee abroad or stay abroad illegally", police in the Ha Tinh province said.

An Essex Police team is currently in Vietnam investigating the deaths.

Those charged are Nguyen Thi Thuy Hoa, of Hung Nguyen district; Vo Van Ky and Vo Van Ho, of Dien Chau district; Le Van Hue, of Yen Tanh district; Tran Dinh Truong, of Can Loc district; Nguyen Quoc Thanh, of Ba Lang; and Nguyen Thi Thuy Diem, of Ruian City in Zheijang, China.

Earlier this month British police revealed a preliminary cause of death had been given as a combination of suffocation and overheating in an enclosed space.

Among those who died was 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My, who sent her family a message on 22 October saying she could not breathe and her "trip to a foreign land has failed".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated trailer

Several people have been arrested in connection with the deaths and an alleged people-trafficking ring, including the lorry driver Maurice Robinson, of Craigavon, County Armagh. At the Old Bailey in November, he admitted conspiring to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

He has not yet entered pleas to 39 counts of manslaughter or charges of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and transferring criminal property.

Three other men are accused by the police in the UK in relation to the deaths.

  • Eamonn Harrison, 23, of Mayobridge, County Down, is facing 39 charges of manslaughter as well as charges of conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. Earlier this month at the High Court in Dublin, he won the right to appeal against his extradition from Ireland to the UK.
  • Christopher Kennedy, 23, from Darkley, County Armagh, denies conspiracy to commit human trafficking offences, assisting unlawful immigration and arranging to facilitate the travel of other people with a view to exploitation.
  • Gheorghe Nica, 43, of Mimosa Close in Langdon Hills, Essex, faces 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. He is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 16 March.

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