Northern Irish lorry driver due to appear in court over Essex deaths

A lorry driver from Northern Ireland is due to appear in court following the death of 39 people in a

A lorry driver from Northern Ireland is due to appear in court following the death of 39 people in a refrigerated unit in Grays, Essex Picture: KIRSTY O'CONNOR/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

A lorry driver is due to appear in court today following the deaths of 39 migrants found in a refrigerated unit in Essex.

Maurice "Mo" Robinson, of Laurel Drive, Craigavon in Northern Ireland, is due to appear via videolink at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

The bodies were discovered in a trailer compartment in the early hours of Wednesday, October 23, on an industrial estate in Grays.

Another man who was arrested in Dublin by Irish police over an unconnected matter on Saturday is also said to be "a person of interest" in Essex Police's investigation.

A spokesman for the force said: "We are liaising with the Garda via telephone as this man is currently held outside the jurisdiction of the law of England and Wales."

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Three others who were arrested in connection with the deaths have been released on bail.

The tragic discovery has become the largest mass fatality victim identification process in Essex Police's history.

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Police initially said the victims were Chinese, although a number of Vietnamese families have described how they fear their loved ones are among the dead.

Some of the victims are said to have paid thousands of pounds to traffickers to guarantee their safe passage to the UK.

There are fears the lorry could have been part of a convoy of three, carrying around 100 people into the country.

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