A Northern Irish lorry driver accused over the deaths of 39 migrants has pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration.
Maurice Robinson (25) who was allegedly part of a global smuggling ring, is charged with the manslaughter of a group of men, women and children found dead in a refrigerated trailer.
The bodies of eight females and 31 males were discovered in the trailer attached to his Scania cab in an industrial park in Grays, Essex, early on October 23rd.
The victims were later identified as coming from various provinces of Vietnam, with the youngest being two boys aged 15.
Mr Robinson, who is known as Mo, appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh prison for a plea hearing.
Wearing a light blue sweater and tan trousers, he spoke to confirm his identity and British nationality.
During the hearing before Mr Justice Edis, he admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between May 1st, 2018, and October 24th, 2019.
The charge states that he plotted with others to do “an act or series of acts which facilitated the commission of a breach of immigration law by various persons”.
He also admitted acquiring criminal property — namely cash — on the same dates.
Meanwhile, another Northern Irish man, Christopher Kennedy (23) from Darkley, Co Armagh, has been charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of people with a view to exploitation and conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law. Essex Police said he is due to appear at Chelmsford magistrates’ court on Monday–PA