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Police officers drive away a lorry in which 39 bodies were discovered, in Grays, east of London.
Police officers drive away a lorry in which 39 bodies were discovered, in Grays, east of London.PHOTO: AFP

British police charge truck driver with 39 counts of manslaughter

British police investigating the deaths of 39 people in a refrigerated truck said on Saturday 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.


UK truck deaths: How one Vietnamese dreamer apparently met her fate

In Berlin, she posed outside a beer garden, a beaming smile upon her face. In Brussels, she sipped sugary bubble tea and posed on the steps of the old stock exchange. To anyone else, she was another tourist.

But Vietnamese 19-year-old Bui Thi Nhung, whose family believe she was one of the 39 people found dead in a refrigerated truck near London on Wednesday, it was the make-or-break trip of a lifetime.

From interviews with her family, and a series of messages left on her social media accounts, Reuters has pieced together the last movements of one of the young Vietnamese migrants thought by relatives to be among the dead.


Britain's Conservatives hold 16-point poll lead ahead of election decision

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party holds a 16-point lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of a parliamentary vote on Monday on whether to hold a snap general election, according to an Opinium poll.

According to the survey, support for the Conservative Party rose three points since a previous poll eight days ago to stand at 40 per cent, while Labour was unchanged on 24 per cent.

The pro-European Union Liberal Democrat Party slipped one point to 15 per cent, while Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, which could challenge the Conservatives for the support of Brexit backers, was on 10 per cent.


Football: Pulisic stars for Chelsea as Man City close on Liverpool

Christian Pulisic hit the first hat-trick of his career as Chelsea crushed Burnley 4-2 on Saturday, while Manchester City overcame a sluggish start to beat Aston Villa and increase the pressure on Liverpool.

In the early kick-off, a frustrated Pep Guardiola watched his side recover from a tepid first half to defeat Villa 3-0 and close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to three points.

US international Pulisic scored his first goals for Frank Lampard's Chelsea, who have now won four straight Premier League games, while Marco Silva is under pressure after another Everton defeat.


Pole sitter Verstappen summoned to stewards after failing to slow for crash

Max Verstappen took pole position for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday but then stepped into hot water by recognising he had not slowed for yellow warning flags after Valtteri Bottas crashed.

A spokesman for the governing FIA said the 22-year-old Red Bull driver had been summoned to the stewards for comments made in an official post-qualifying news conference.

"I was aware that Valtteri crashed," the Dutchman said in a terse reply to a question about the incident at the end of the session, with Mercedes title contender Bottas smashing into the wall at the final corner.