UK police have charged the driver of a refrigerated truck in which dozens of bodies were found with 39 counts of manslaughter and other offences, including conspiracy to traffic people and money laundering.
The horrific find was made at a business park near London on Wednesday.
Driver Maurice ‘Mo’ Robinson, 25, from Armagh in Northern Ireland is thought to have been in possession of the container for about half an hour before the gruesome discovery was made. The authorities found the human remains after a call was put in to ambulance services, however the details on who made that call have not been revealed.
So far five people have been arrested, including Robinson. Two of those are a married couple, both aged 38, who are understood to own the truck, which is registered in Bulgaria. However, the pair, who are both Irish and run a haulage business in Warrington, England, told the Daily Mail that they sold the vehicle some 13 months ago and were stunned to hear of the tragedy.
A fourth person, a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was arrested on Friday at Stansted Airport. Then on Saturday, police in the Republic of Ireland arrested a man in his 20s at Dublin Port in connection with the case. The fifth suspect arrested so far, he had just arrived on a ferry from France.
According to the Telegraph, authorities suspect that some of those arrested are involved in smuggling operations across the Northern Irish border, and a possible link with dissident republicans is also reportedly being investigated.
The truck and trailer are owned by different companies. The trailer is reportedly owned by an Irish company and had been leased to yet another Irish company, but neither owner nor lessee is believed to be involved in the case.
Earlier Saturday, police issued an appeal to the Vietnamese community in the UK to help them identify the remains of the 39 people found dead in the trailer. Initially police said they thought the victims were Chinese, but said Saturday that they don’t wish to speculate about the nationalities until the identities are confirmed.
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