Lorry driver extradited to face charges over deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in Grays

A lorry driver has been extradited to the UK to face charges over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in a shipping container in Grays last year.

Eamonn Harrison, 23, of Mayobridge, County Down, Northern Ireland, is alleged to have driven the lorry trailer to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it sailed to England.

Harrison was extradited from Ireland to face 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Although he is from Northern Ireland, his lawyer said last year that at the time of the incident he was travelling under an Irish passport as an Irish citizen.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We can confirm he is in our custody. We will release more information about proceedings when we are able.”

The bodies of the Vietnamese migrants were found on an industrial estate in the Essex town of Grays shortly after the container arrived in Purfleet on a ferry in the early morning of October 23, 2019.

Among the men, women and children were 10 teenagers- including two 15-year-old boys.

Lorry driver Maurice Robinson, 25, who took the container from the port where it arrived in Essex, pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter at the Old Bailey in April. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Robinson, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland, also admitted acquiring criminal property. He denied a further charge of transferring criminal property.

The bodies were discovered in the lorry in the early hours of 23 October 2019

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