Essex lorry deaths: Driver pleads guilty to manslaughter


A British lorry driver has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants who were found dead in a refrigerated truck last year.

Maurice Robinson, 25, was arrested shortly after the bodies of 31 men and eight women were discovered in the truck in an industrial zone in Grays, Essex, in October.

The driver had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property. However, on Wednesday he also admitted 39 counts of manslaughter but denied a further charge of transferring criminal property.

The hearing was conducted virtually with most lawyers and court reporters attending via Skype.

Robinson appeared at the Old Bailey via video link alongside four other men charged as part of an investigation by Essex police.

Prosecutors have asked for three weeks to decide on whether to proceed with a trial against Robinson against the outstanding charge, but other defendants face a trial at the Old Bailey lasting up to eight weeks from 5 October.

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