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Two Found Guilty Of 39 Counts Of Manslaughter After Migrants Found Dead In Lorry

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 21 Dec 2020 13:44
Two Found Guilty Of 39 Counts Of Manslaughter After Migrants Found Dead In LorryPA Images

Two men have been found guilty of the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants, who were found dead in a lorry in Essex in 2019.

Eamonn Harrison, who was driving the lorry, has now been found guilty of the manslaughter of all 39 migrants, while Gheorghe Nica, who organised the trip, was found guilty of the same charge.

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The migrants, who were male and females between the ages of 15 and 44, died after temperatures reached 38.5C in the lorry they were trapped in for at least 12 hours. However, when they tried to raise alarms that passengers were becoming unwell, their desperate pleas fell on deaf ears.

Two Found Guilty Of 39 Counts Of Manslaughter After Migrants Found Dead In LorryPA Images

During a two-month trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard how each of the migrants had paid more than £10,000 to be smuggled into the UK.

Harrison is reported to have driven the lorry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to Purfleet in England, where it was collected by another driver, Mo Robinson, who has previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, Sky News reports.

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In addition to manslaughter, Harrison, from County Down in Northern Ireland, was found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration – a charge Nica admitted in court.

Two Found Guilty Of 39 Counts Of Manslaughter After Migrants Found Dead In LorryPA Images

Meanwhile, lorry driver Christopher Kennedy and Valentin Calota were also found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Haulage boss Ronan Hughes had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter, alongside lorry driver Mo Robinson.

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On collecting the lorry on October 22, 2019, Robinson discovered the bodies after receiving a message from Hughes telling him to ‘give them air quickly’ but not let them out. After making the grim discovery, he called Hughes and Nica, before calling 999 some 23 minutes later.

Two Found Guilty Of 39 Counts Of Manslaughter After Migrants Found Dead In LorryEssex Police

Chilling audio played during the trial revealed the 999 call in which Robinson told emergency services he’d found ‘loads’ of migrants in the back of his lorry all ‘lying on the ground’.

‘I went and lifted a trailer from Purfleet, the freight terminal, and I got around to where I was gonna park up for the night and I heard a noise in the back and I opened the door and there’s a bunch of them lying,’ he said, as per BBC.

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Among the victims were university graduates, hairdressers, nail bar workers and much more. Many of the victims had even borrowed large sums of money to make the treacherous journey into the UK, for what they believed would be a better life.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Crime, Essex, Legal, manslaughter, migrants, Now

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Sky News and 1 other
  1. Sky News

    Essex lorry deaths: Two men found guilty of manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants

  2. BBC

    Essex lorry deaths: Driver's 999 call played in court