Essex lorry deaths: Man charged with human trafficking

Essex lorry deaths: Man charged with human trafficking

A man has been charged with human trafficking following the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people in a lorry in Essex.

Christopher Kennedy, 23, who was arrested on Friday 22 November in connection with the police investigation, is accused of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of people with a view to exploitation and conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law.

Kennedy, of Corkley Road in Darkley, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday 25 November.

The development comes a month after 39 bodies were discovered in a refrigerated lorry trailer at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, on 23 October.

Earlier this month Essex Police, assisted by Vietnamese officials, confirmed the 31 men and eight women were all Vietnamese nationals.

The youngest two were just 15 years old and the oldest was 44.

Five others have been arrested in connection with the deaths.

The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, and money laundering.

He is in custody in the UK and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday.

Eamonn Harrison, 22, from Mayobridge, Northern Ireland, is in custody in Dublin and is awaiting extradition to the UK after a European Arrest Warrant was issued.

Harrison has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, human trafficking and immigration offences.

Three other people, a 38-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man, have all been released on bail pending further enquiries until 24 January 2020.

Brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.

In Vietnam, several others have been arrested.

Anyone with information on the Hughes' brothers is asked to contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or by visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.