Two found guilty of causing deaths of 39 migrants in back of Essex lorry

The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaving Waterglade Industrial Park in Gra

The bodies of 39 Vietnamese migrants were discovered in a lorry container in Grays last year - Credit: PA

Two men have been found guilty of killing 39 Vietnamese migrants, whose bodies were discovered in the back of a lorry in Essex last year.

Following a two-month trial at the Old Bailey, Eamonn Harrison, a 24-year-old lorry driver, and 43-year-old Gheorghe Nica have both been convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter and guilty of one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

The bodies were found in the back of a lorry being driven by Maurice Robinson at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays on October 23, 2019.

Police activity at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, after 39 bodies were found inside

Two men have been convicted of 39 counts of manslaughter - Credit: PA

Robinson, 26, and fellow haulier Ronan Hughes, 41, had previously admitted causing the deaths of 39 people.

Two other men have also been found guilty over their involvement in the people smuggling ring.

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Christopher Kennedy, 24, and 38-year-old Valentin Calota was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law. 

The shocking discovery prompted the largest investigation in Essex Police's history as officers unravelled a network of organised criminals both in the UK and overseas.

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Essex Police has confirmed more than 1,300 people have assisted with the probe since it was launched more than a year ago.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Hughes and Nica had overseen two journeys just days before the discovery in Grays on October 11 and 18.

Chief Constable of Essex Police, Ben Julian Harrington, said following the verdicts: "The men who were found guilty today made their money from misery.

"They knew what they were doing was wrong, but they didn’t care.

"They tried to hide what they were doing. They attempted to evade detection. They thought they could cover up their crimes.

"Today, they have been proved wrong on every count.

"Whilst I feel immense pride for the Essex Police teams, and our partners, for this diligent investigation, none of us will stop thinking of the victims and their families.

"Those family members are, in most cases, halfway across the world, and their lives will never be the same again.

"We will never forget those 39 victims – men, women, and children – who were sold the lie of safe passage to our country."

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