UK truck deaths: British police charge truck driver with 39 counts of manslaughter

Police officers drive away a lorry (centre) in which 39 dead bodies were discovered.
Police officers drive away a lorry (centre) in which 39 dead bodies were discovered.PHOTO: AFP
Anti-racism campaigners take part in a vigil in Britain, following the discovery of 39 bodies in a truck container.
Anti-racism campaigners take part in a vigil in Britain, following the discovery of 39 bodies in a truck container.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) – British police investigating the deaths of 39 people in a refrigerated truck said on Saturday (Oct 26) they had charged a driver arrested at the scene with manslaughter and people trafficking.

Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, faces “39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering”, police said.

Robinson was arrested shortly after the bodies were discovered in the truck at Purfleet on the River Thames estuary, after arriving on a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge early on Wednesday.

He will appear in court on Monday, Essex police said.

Three other people have been arrested in Britain in connection with the investigation, on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter. They remain in custody.

They include a 38-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman from Warrington in north-west England, reportedly a couple. She is said to be the legal owner of the truck.

A 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland is also being held.

On Saturday, Irish police announced another arrest in Dublin, of a man in his early 20s from Northern Ireland.

Irish state broadcaster RTE said the man was arrested at Dublin's port on Saturday morning after arriving on a ferry from France, and that police wanted to question him about the movements of the container in which the bodies were found.