Haulier in court in connection with deaths of 39 migrants in container

Tess de la Mare, PA
·1-min read

A haulier has appeared in court in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in a refrigerated container in Essex in 2019.

Caolan Gormley, 23, of Kedew Road in Caledon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, faces a charge of conspiracy to assist illegal immigration.

At a brief hearing at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, it was alleged Gormley allowed vehicles in his road haulage fleet to facilitate the entry of migrants into the UK.

Prosecutor Russell Tyner said Gormley did not faces charges of manslaughter for the deaths.

The case was sent to the Old Bailey for a plea and trial preparation hearing on April 14.

Gormley, who appeared at the hearing via video link, was granted unconditional bail until that date.

He did not give an indication of plea and spoke only to confirm his name and address and to confirm he had understood the proceedings.

The bodies of the Vietnamese nationals were discovered at an industrial estate in Grays shortly after the container arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium in the early hours of October 23 2019.

Among the men, women and children were 10 teenagers, two of them 15-year-old boys.