Essex lorry deaths: Four people jailed in Vietnam

The bodies of 29 Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated trailer

HANOI/LONDON, Sept 16 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Four people have been jailed in Vietnam for their roles in the death of 39 migrants found in a lorry in England’s Essex.

The men, women and children were discovered in a refrigerated trailer in Grays on Oct 23.

The four defendants were found guilty of “organising, brokering illegal emigration” after a one-day trial in Ha Tinh, VnExpress reported.

The state media outlet said one victim paid $22,000 for the illegal journey.

The four defendants, aged between 24 and 36, were given sentences ranging from two-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half years.

Three others received suspended jail sentences.

The bodies of the Vietnamese nationals were discovered at an industrial estate soon after the lorry arrived in the UK on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

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

An inquest heard their medical cause of death was asphyxia and hyperthermia.

Last month haulier Ronan Hughes, 40, of Tyholland, County Monaghan, admitted manslaughter and conspiring to assist unlawful immigration at the Old Bailey while Eamonn Harrison, 23, of Mayobridge, County Down, denied 39 charges of manslaughter.

Gazmir Nuzi, 42, of Barclay Road, Tottenham, north London, pleaded guilty to a single charge of assisting unlawful immigration on or before 11 October 2019 and 18 April 2020.

Earlier this year, lorry driver Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, County Armagh, pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Harrison now faces a trial expected to last five weeks starting on Oct 5 with three others.

Gheorghe Nica, 43, of Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex, denies 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Valentin Calota, 37, of Birmingham, and Christopher Kennedy, 23, of County Armagh, Northern Ireland, have each denied conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. — NNN-AGENCIES