Making news

Essex truck victims die of lack of oxygen, overheating: British police

Thirty-nine Vietnamese people found dead inside a refrigerated trailer in Essex, north-east of London, last October, died of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) and hyperthermia (overheating) in an enclosed space, British police said on February 11.

British police revealed the provisional autopsy results while they are pushing ahead with investigation and identification of suspects.

“Our teams are continuing to progress hundreds of lines of enquiry and are working with the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies from across the globe to further their lengthy and complex investigation,’’ Essex county police said in a statement.

Gheorghe Nica of Basildon in eastern England, was detained in Germany’s Frankfurt airport on January 29. At a trial in Chelmsford, the UK, on February 1, the 43-year-old was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

A second man, who is 22, was arrested in Northern Ireland on February 2 on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration. He remains in police custody in southeast England but has not been charged or named yet.

Another suspect from Northern Ireland, Eamonn Harrison, 23, is being held in Ireland on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. He has a Dublin High Court hearing scheduled for February 12.

Prosecutors allege that Harrison drove the container to the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, where it was put on a ferry to England and picked up at the other end by Maurice Robinson Robinson, who also is from Northern Ireland and has been charged with manslaughter.

Harrison’s lawyers have argued that the UK should not be able to seek his extradition from Ireland because the alleged offenses took place in Belgium.