Jury retires to consider verdicts over deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants

December, 12/2020 - 10:33
A jury in England on Friday began deliberations in the case of four men charged in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants who suffocated in the back of container unit last year.

 

The vehicle containing the victims' bodies found at an industrial park in Grays, east of London in the UK, a year ago today. AFP/VNA Photo

LONDON — A jury in England on Friday began deliberations in the case of four men charged in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants who suffocated in the back of container unit last year.

After a ten-week trial at the Old Bailey in London, the jury has now retired to consider their verdicts.

Gheorghe Nica, 43, from Basildon, in Essex and lorry driver Eamonn Harrison, 23, from County Down in Northern Ireland, have denied 39 counts of manslaughter.

 

The Old Bailey in London were the trial of four men accused in connection with the deaths of 39 migrants retired on Friday to consider their verdicts. AFP Photo.

Harrison, as well as 24-year-old lorry driver Christopher Kennedy, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland and Valentin Calota, 38, from Birmingham, have all pleaded not guilty to being part of a people smuggling conspiracy.

Nica, a Romanian national, has admitted a smaller role but denied involvement in the fatal trip.

In October last year, the emergency services were called to an industrial park in Essex after the bodies of 39 people, aged between 15 and 44, were found dead in the back of the container unit.

Watch a Việt Nam News special report on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.

During the trial, it was revealed they had all suffocated in sweltering temperatures inside the back of the airtight unit as it was shipped from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet in the south of England.

After the trial came to an end, Mr Justice Sweeney sent the jurors out early Friday afternoon to begin their deliberations. — VNS

 

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