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Essex lorry deaths: Two men found guilty of manslaughter of 39 people

Two men have been found guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of 39 migrants who were found in a...
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Newsroom

13.28 21 Dec 2020


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Essex lorry deaths: Two men fo...

Essex lorry deaths: Two men found guilty of manslaughter of 39 people

Newsroom
Newsroom

13.28 21 Dec 2020


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Two men have been found guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of 39 migrants who were found in a lorry container in Essex last year.

Eamonn Harrison, from Co Down, was one of two men who stood trial accused of the manslaughter of the Vietnamese nationals whose bodies were discovered at an industrial estate in October 2019.

The court heard how temperatures in the unit had reached an "unbearable" 38.5C as the men, women and children, aged 15 to 44, were sealed inside for at least 12 hours.

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They had each paid more than £10,000 to be smuggled into the UK and had tried to raise the alarm as they suffocated inside the pitch-black refrigerated unit, which had been switched off, jurors were told.

Following a two-month trial at the Old Bailey in London, lorry driver Harrison was found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter.

The organiser Gheorghe Nica was convicted of the same charges.

Harrison was also found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Nica, from Essex, admitted to that charge, although he denied involvement in the fatal journey.

Two other defendants, lorry driver Christopher Kennedy and Valentin Calota, were found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Lorry driver Maurice Robinson and haulage boss Ronan Hughes had previously admitted the manslaughter of the migrants.

Giving evidence, Harrison, 23, denied knowing there were people in his trailer on October 22nd or on two earlier, successful people-smuggling trips.

He told jurors he thought he was dealing with "stolen goods" and he was watching TV in bed at the time the trailer was loaded.

Reporting by IRN

Main image: Police officers work at the scene where 39 bodies were found in a shipping container in Essex, Britain | Credit: Ray Tang/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

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