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Man charged in connection to deaths of 39 migrants found in UK truck

A 23-year-old has been charged in connection to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants, whose lifeless bodies were discovered in the back of a truck in the UK in 2019, according to reports.

Essex Police said Tuesday Caolan Gormley is due to appear at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, according to the BBC. He is charged with conspiracy to assist illegal immigration.

The discovery of the victims — including ten teenagers, two of whom were as young as 15-years-old — spurred an international investigation into a global human-trafficking ring.

The migrants suffocated in the back of a sealed refrigerated truck while traveling from Zeebrugge, Belgium to Purfleet, England on October 23, 2019, the BBC said.

One of the ring’s drivers, Christopher Kennedy, named Gormley as one of his bosses during his November trial, the Belfast Telegraph reported. 

human trafficking truck UK
From top row left to right, Ronan Hughes, Gheorghe Nica, truck drivers Maurice Robinson and Eamonn Harrison, and Ovidiu Hanga, Christopher Kennedy and Valentin Colota are seen after being charged for their role in the incident.
THAMES VALLEY POLICE/AFP via Getty Images

Kennedy was sentenced in December to 7 years in prison after admitting to picking up two other loads of migrants connected to the people-smuggling syndicate on October 11 and 18 — two of whom were ejected from his trailer at the French border by authorities but were later found among the 39 dead.

A handful of other men have also been jailed for their roles in the gang.

Ronan Hughes, who ran a haulage company and organized the lorries and migrant transportation, was convicted as one of the two ringleaders.

The haulier was arrested in Northern Ireland in April 2020 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in January, the Guardian reported.

Hughes’ co-conspirator, Gheorghe Nica, was sentenced to 27 years. 

Maurice Robinson, the driver of the truck found with the 39 bodies, was also sentenced January to 13 years and four months after pleading pleaded guilty to manslaughter and people-smuggling, the outlet said.

human trafficking UK 2019
The 39 victims were found in the truck in October 2019.
Essex Police/AFP via Getty Images

Prosecutors were still considering charges against three other people as of the end of last year.


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