A man has entered a guilty plea during British police’s ongoing investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals last year.
|All victims were repatriated in late November 2019. Photo: VNA|
Ronan Hughes, 40, from Tyholland in County Monaghan, Ireland, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of those who lost their lives in a lorry trailer in Essex, the UK in October 2019.
Hughes also pleaded guilty to one count of facilitating the illegal entry of people into the UK, according to the Essex Police.
A Tottenham man, 42-year-old Gazmir Nuzi of Barclay Road, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
Chief Constable for Essex Police, Ben-Julian Harrington, acknowledged that the result was a step in the right direction for the ongoing investigation.
He said “Last October, just a few days after the tragedy, I wrote in the book of condolence that we would do everything in our power to bring to justice those who were responsible for their horrific journey, which ended on our shores.”
|Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable for Essex Police. Photo: Getty Images|
“We are still working hard to keep that promise to the families and our thoughts are with them following today’s pleas.”
Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten, the Senior Investigating Officer for the case, said “Since the tragic discovery in the early hours of October 23, some 1,300 people have worked together to try and ascertain what happened in that trailer, and the events leading up to the tragedy.”
“These guilty pleas are welcomed, and I hope they offer some solace to the families of the victims. A lot of dedication and hard work has gone into this case, and there’s still a way to go, but we will not give up.”
In April, 25-year-old Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter at the same court. The Craigavon man has previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property.
In June, Alexandru Hanga, 28, of Hobart Road in Tilbury, pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
Four men will await a trial at the Old Bailey on October 5, 2020 in connection with the police’s investigation, Essex Police said.
In February 2020, a group of 12 British police officers and staff came to Vietnam to investigate the case after Essex police revealed a preliminary cause of deaths.
The victims, including eight women, came mostly from the central provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
In late November 2019, all of the bodies were repatriated for funeral.