The driver of the refrigerated truck in which 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in October in England pleaded guilty, Monday, November 25, help with illegal immigration. Originally from Northern Ireland, Maurice Robinson, 25, also pleaded guilty to taking a financial profit from this activity during his video-conference appearance in the Old Bailey Criminal Court from Belmarsh, in south-east London.
The man is being prosecuted for manslaughter, trafficking in human beings, helping illegal immigration and money laundering, but he did not rule on the other charges on Monday. The judge kept him in detention until his next hearing on December 13.
Another suspect, Christopher Kennedy, appeared later in the day in the Chelmsford court in north-east London. Also a driver, the 23-year-old Irishman, arrested on Friday morning in the London area, is accused of assisting human smuggling and illegal immigration between May 2018 and the end of October 2019. The two men are being held until an upcoming hearing on December 13 at the Old Bailey.
Nail bars or cannabis farms
The bodies of 31 men and 8 women, including two teenagers aged 15, were found on 23 October in a container in the industrial area of Grays, east of London. The container came from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
Many of the victims were from a poor region of central Vietnam, who lives in fishing, agriculture or industry. Families are getting into thousands of dollars to send one of them to the United Kingdom, via clandestine channels, in the hope that they will find profitable jobs there.
The tragedy exposed the dangers of illegal immigration, with unscrupulous traffickers taking advantage of the vulnerability of candidates, who often end up in illegal nail bars or cannabis farms in the United Kingdom, reduced to a state semi-slavery.