Sixth man arrested over lorry with 39 dead Vietnamese migrants

The 23-year-old is from Northern Ireland where the firm that owned the vehicle is based

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 Police officers drive away a lorry in which 39 dead bodies were discovered sparking a murder investigation at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019. Detectives investigating the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals whose bodies were found in a refrigerated lorry in southeast England on on November 22, 2019 said they had arrested a third suspect. / AFP / Ben STANSALL

A man from Northern Ireland has been arrested in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people who were found dead inside a container in England last month.

A 23-year-old was arrested by Thames Valley Police, on behalf of Essex Police, on Friday morning on the M40 motorway in Buckinghamshire, south-east England.

The man, who hasn’t been named by authorities, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and to assist unlawful immigration. Police say he’s in custody.

Six people have now been arrested in connection with the incident. The 39 bodies were discovered in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex, southeast England on October 23, after being smuggled into the UK.

Essex Police confirmed earlier this month that among the dead were 31 males and eight females, between the ages of 15 and 44.

The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, and money laundering.

He is in custody and is due to appear at the Old Bailey in London on Monday.

Eamonn Harrison, 22, from Mayobridge, Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, human trafficking and immigration offences. UK authorities say that Harrison drove the truck to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was handed over to Robinson. He is in custody in Dublin, Ireland and is awaiting extradition to Britain.

Three other people, including a 38-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man, have all been released on bail pending further enquiries until January 2020. No further information was given by Essex Police on their connection to the smuggling attempt.

Brothers Ronan and his younger brother Christopher Hughes, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking. The siblings are said to have links with the road haulage and shipping industries. Several others have been arrested in Vietnam.

More than $110,000 (Dh 404,000) has been crowdfunded to help support the families of 39 people. The money will be used to help pay for the costs of flying the bodies back to their families in Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has also offered loans to the relatives of the victims.

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