2 found guilty of manslaughter in 2019 Essex lorry migrants’ deaths

A UK court found two men guilty in 39 counts of manslaughter of the 39 Vietnamese migrants, who were found dead in a refrigerated lorry in Essex county last year.

On Monday, Eamonn Harrison, a 24-year-old lorry driver from Northern Ireland, and Gheorghe Nica, 43, from Essex, were found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter and guilty of one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, Xinhua news agency quoted a police statement as saying.

Meanwhile, another Northern Irish lorry driver, Christopher Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Calota, 38, a pick-up driver from Romania, were both convicted of conspiring to smuggle people into Britain unlawfully.

The four men were convicted on Monday at the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales in London, known as the Old Bailey.

“The men who were found guilty today made their money from misery. They knew what they were doing was wrong, but they didn’t care. They tried to hide what they were doing. They attempted to evade detection,” said Chief Constable of Essex Police, Ben-Julian Harrington.

Previously, another two men, including the 26-year-old lorry driver Maurice Robinson, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of the migrants who were found dead in a refrigerated container at an industrial estate in Essex on October 23, 2019.

The trailer had arrived in Britain on a ferry from Zeebrugge, Belgium.

Essex police said earlier this year that the cause of death is a combination of hypoxia and hyperthermia.

The victims included 10 teenagers, two of them 15-year-old boys.