Essex lorry deaths: Arrest in Ireland and two more in Vietnam over 39 bodies found in trailer

Detectives start extradition proceedings to bring suspect to the UK

Zamira Rahim
Friday 01 November 2019 14:51 GMT
Essex lorry deaths: Police speak to man wanted over 39 bodies in container

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Update: Essex police have confirmed that no further action will be taken against Christopher Hughes

A second man has been arrested and charged in connection with the Essex lorry deaths.

Eamon Harrison, from County Down, Northern Ireland, was arrested on Friday morning and subsequently appeared in Dublin High Court.

“[He] is charged with 39 offences of manslaughter, as well as human trafficking and immigration offences,” an Essex Police spokesperson said.

The force has started extradition proceedings to bring the man to the UK.

Detectives allege he delivered the refrigerated lorry trailer containing 39 people to the Zeebrugge port in Belgium.

The 23-year-old is suspected of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Mr Harrison was arrested in the holding cells of the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin on Friday morning, after a European Arrest Warrant was issued, a court spokesperson said.

The suspect has been remanded in custody at Cloverhill Prison, Dublin until 11 November.

His appearance comes after two people were arrested in Vietnam in connection with the case.

Several other people are being questioned, authorities in Vietnam said on Friday.

Detectives found 39 bodies in the back of the refrigerated truck on 23 October.

The finding has sparked multiple investigations across several countries.

A spokesperson for Ha Tinh regional police said the force had launched a criminal probe into suspected human trafficking.

Ten Vietnamese families have reported their relatives missing and said they feared their loved ones were among the victims.

Detectives are also investigating similar incidents from the last five years.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam’s prime minister, ordered the investigation to be opened on 26 October, after British police said some of the victims may have travelled from the southeast Asian country.

News of the arrests comes hours after Essex Police announced the force had spoken to one of two Northern Irish men wanted in the investigation over the deaths.

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A spokesperson said police officers had spoken to Ronan Hughes, who is believed to be on the run with his brother Christopher.

“Today I want to make a direct appeal – Ronan and Christopher, hand yourselves into the Police Service of Northern Ireland,” DCI Daniel Stoten, of Essex Police, said on Friday.

“We need you both to come forward and assist this investigation.

“Although we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone, we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person.

“Talking to Ronan and Christopher is crucial to our investigation and the sooner we can make this happen, the sooner we can progress and continue with our investigation.”

A man who allegedly drove the lorry from Belgium to Essex appeared in court accused of manslaughter, money laundering, conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration on Monday.

Additional reporting by agencies

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