December 21, 2020

Two men guilty of killing 39 Vietnamese migrants found in lorry

Two men were on Monday found guilty of manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants, who died in the back of a lorry in Essex, England in October 2019.

Gheorghe Nica, 43, from Essex, and the lorry driver, Eamonn Harrison, 23, from Northern Ireland, were found guilty for the deaths of the victims.

During the trial in London, the court heard the victims were discovered in the container after it was parked in an industrial estate in Essex.

It had been taken by road from Dunkirk in France to Zeebrugge in Belgium, from where it was put on a Britain-bound ferry.

The victims aged between 15 and 44 each paid more than 10,000 pounds (13,000 dollars) to be smuggled into Britain from Vietnam.

READ ALSO: Court adjourns bail hearing of Osun #EndSARS leader as govt takes over prosecution from DSS

But after they were placed inside the sealed unit for at least 12 hours, the court heard the victims suffocated after temperatures reached 38.5 Celsius.

During the trial, officers said they recovered mobiles from the victims which revealed they tried to raise the alarm and left goodbye messages for loved ones as they ran out of air, according to the Press Association.

Two other men, Christopher Kennedy, 24, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and Valentin Calota, 38, from Birmingham in England’s the West Midlands, were also found guilty of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Haulier boss Ronan Hughes, 41, of Armagh, and 26-year-old lorry driver Maurice Robinson of Craigavon, both previously admitted to manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Russell Tyner, of the Crown Prosecution Service, which is the public agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales, said the case was one of the “largest manslaughter cases the CPS has ever prosecuted’’.

“After the horrific discovery of the bodies, many of these men fled because they knew what they had done,’’ he said.

“But we were able to use all of the legal powers and networks available to us to pursue them, bring them to the UK and see them face justice.

“That included meeting with prosecutors from the Netherlands and Germany, setting up a Joint Investigation Team with Belgium, France and later Ireland.’’

The judge adjourned sentencing of all the defendants until Jan, 7, Jan.8, and Jan. 11,2020.

Vanguard News Nigeria