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

Charged: Maurice Robinson has now been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter after the discovery of the 39 bodies in his lorry container in Essex. (Facebook)

Maurice ‘Mo’ Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter over the deaths of 39 people found in a lorry in Grays, Essex, on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday.

He is 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.

The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaving Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex. (PA)

"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.

The 25-year-old was arrested at the scene and has been in police custody ever since. (Facebook)

"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."

The charge comes after another northern Irish man in his twenties was arrested at Dublin port this afternoon after getting off the ferry.

A blue Scania truck that he was driving has been impounded by the police.

An investigation was launched after the bodies of 39 people were found frozen in a refrigerated container at an industrial park in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of Wednesday.

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

Flowers lay next to a police line cordon at the scene where 39 bodies discovered in the back of a lorry (Getty Images)

Police initially thought the victims were Chinese nationals but at least six Vietnamese families are said to be concerned that their relatives are among the dead, said the organisation, Human Rights Space.

Vietnamese woman Pham Thi Tra My, 26, is feared to have been among those killed.

Her devastated family shared her final messages, which she sent ehile she was struggling to breathe in the container.

Police officers are seen at the scene where 39 bodies discovered in the back of a lorry on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Her translated texts read: “So sorry, Mum and Dad. The route to abroad didn’t succeed, mum. I love you and Dad so much.

“I am dying because I can’t breathe. Mum, I’m very sorry.”

Police originally thought the lorry had travelled to the UK through Holyhead in north Wales on October 19 but later revealed that the trailer had come directly from the Continent.

Security checks for people smuggling are believed to be less stringent at both ports than at Calais and Dover.

The discovery comes as the National Crime Agency said the number of migrants being smuggled into the UK in containers and lorries has risen in the last year.