Essex lorry deaths: Ronan Hughes admits manslaughter

Haulier guilty of manslaughter over container deaths

Haulier guilty of manslaughter over container deaths

The cause of death for all of the victims was asphyxia and hyperthermia in an enclosed space, an inquest concluded.

Irishman Ronan Hughes pleaded guilty on Friday to the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese men, women and boys found in the back of a refrigerated truck near London a year ago.

A Northern Irish human trafficker, who was transporting dozens of Vietnamese refugees that died in a trailer, has pled guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter.

Hughes appeared alongside Eamonn Harrison, 23, also of County Down, Northern Ireland, who is alleged to have driven the truck's trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before it sailed to Purfleet in England.

At the time of Robinson's charge, Essex Police issued a statement which read: "The Crown Prosecution service has authorised Essex Police to charge a man in connection with the investigating [sic] the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in Grays on Wednesday".

Ten teenagers, two of them 15-year-old boys, were among the dead.

Hughes also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration of non-European Union citizens between May 1, 2018 and October 24, 2019.

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Harrison and Hughes were extradited from the Republic of Ireland in July.

In June, Romanian Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 28, of Hobart Road in Essex, admitted conspiring to assist unlawful immigration between May 2018 and October 2019.

Robinson, 25, from Craigavon in Northern Ireland, entered his plea at the Old Bailey in April, having previously admitted plotting to assist illegal immigration.

A trial is due to begin on October 5.

Ronan Hughes had been charged with the multiple counts after the corpses of 39 Vietnamese citizens, including 10 teens, were found suffocated in the trailer on October 23, 2019. Valentin Calota, 37, of Birmingham, and Christopher Kennedy, 23, of Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, have denied being part of a people smuggling conspiracy.

A hearing was fixed for 21 September for a pre-trial review.

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