Essex lorry deaths: Mo Robinson charged with 39 counts of manslaughter

Mo Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter over the Essex lorry deaths.

The 25-year-old will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday also charged with conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

An Essex Police statement said: "The Crown Prosecution service has authorised Essex Police to charge a man in connection with the investigating the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in Grays on Wednesday.

"Maurice Robinson, 25, of Laurel Drive, Craigavon, Northern Ireland was arrested shortly after the discovery was made at the Waterglade Retail Park.

"He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday 28 October charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

"Three other people have been arrested in connection with this investigation.

"A 38 year-old man and a 38 year-old woman from Warrington and a 48 year-old man from Northern Ireland, who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter remain in custody."

An investigation was launched after the bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a refrigerated container at an industrial park in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of Wednesday.

Robinson, the lorry driver, who is from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder and taken into police custody.

In Belgium, police are hunting the driver who delivered the trailer to Zeebrugge, the port it left before arriving in the UK.

Essex Police initially believed all of the dead were Chinese nationals, but the force has since said it is "a developing picture", with reports the victims may be Vietnamese.

The force has said it will not give any more details about the nationalities of the dead until formal identification has taken place.

A Vietnamese community website in the UK has given police around 20 photos of people reported missing since the discovery of the bodies.

The country's embassy in London has also said some families had contacted them asking about relatives but it is yet to receive any information from police.

The families of suspected victims say the container was part of a convoy of three lorries, believed to be carrying more than 100 migrants to the UK.

It is not yet known when the victims entered the trailer or the exact route it travelled.

Belgian officials said the trailer arrived at Zeebrugge at 2.49pm on Tuesday and left the same day for Purfleet.

The container arrived at the Essex port at around 12.30am on Wednesday, and was picked up by the lorry cab, which arrived from Northern Ireland via Holyhead in North Wales on Sunday (October 20).

The lorry left Purfleet shortly after 1.05am before police were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park at 1.40am.

On Saturday, a man in his early 20s was arrested at Dublin port on an unrelated matter, and it is understood that he is of interest to Essex police as part of the investigation into the deaths.

Three other people have been arrested over the deaths, including a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland who was detained at Stansted Airport on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter.

Police earlier arrested a couple, named as haulage boss Thomas Maher and his wife Joanna, both 38.

The man and woman, from Warrington, were arrested on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking. All remain in custody.

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