Four members of a people-smuggling gang have been sentenced to a combined sentence of almost 80 years in the United Kingdom, this follows after 39 illegal Vietnamese immigrants died in the back of their lorry in Essex, October 2019.
The victims included men, women, and children, two of whom were just 15, who suffocated to death in a sealed trailer with temperatures of up to 38.5C (101.3F). The lorry had travelled to Purfleet docks in Essex from Belgium.
Two of the four men admitted to the 39 charges of manslaughter.
Irishman and hauler Ronan Hughes, 41, was reported to be a ringleader and was paid £3,000 ($4,105) for each migrant who arrived safely. In exchange, he supplied lorries and drivers.
He admitted to manslaughter and people smuggling and was jailed for 20 years.
Lorry driver Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, was the one who collected the trailer at Purfleet and discovered the dead bodies. It took him 23 minutes to call an ambulance, he also admitted to manslaughter and people smuggling, and was sentenced for 13 years and four months.
Eamonn Harrison age 24, also from Northern Ireland had picked up the migrants in France and drove them to Belgium to make their way to Essex – he denied the manslaughter and people smuggling charges, saying he was told to park and hide when the migrants were put into his trailer – He said he thought he was smuggling stolen lorry parts.
However, the court did not accept this defence and he was also convicted of the charges and was jailed for 18 years.
Gheorghe Nica, 43, was reported to be responsible for transferring migrants from lorries to a safehouse in south London, and supplying the cars and drivers to do so – he denied manslaughter, but admitted to involvement in previous smuggling operations and was jailed for 27 years.
Justice Sweeney, the judge, said the defendants jailed for manslaughter would serve two-thirds of their term in custody, rather than the usual half.
“I have no doubt that, as asserted by the prosecution, the conspiracy was a sophisticated, long running, and profitable one to smuggle mainly Vietnamese migrants across the channel,” he said.
Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.
This content was sourced from Unity News Network.