Multiple people are facing charges after thirty-nine Vietnamese immigrants were found dead in the back of a semi truck last year.
Eamonn Harrison, Maurice Robinson, Gheorghe Nica, Christopher Kennedy, Valentin Calota, and Ronan Hughes are all believed to have been involved in an international smuggling ring, shipping illegal immigrants into the UK until October of last year, when the 39 Vietnamese immigrants were discovered.
According to The Sun, the group of 39 each paid 10,000 pounds, the equivalent of almost $13,000, to be smuggled into the UK from Vietnam. The group included two 15-year-old boys, ten older teenagers, and both male and female adults.
The group was first placed on a truck and driven by Harrison to Zeebrugge, Belgium. The container housing the immigrants was then put on a ferry to the UK, where Robinson collected it.
Robinson then received a text instructing him to “Give them air quickly but don’t let them out,” but when he stopped to open the container, he realized that it had gotten so hot that all 39 immigrants had “suffocated in the baking heat… the lorry had become a tomb.”
Officials say the container reached temperatures as high as 101’F.
The immigrants were allegedly sending messages to loved ones before perishing in the heat, writing things such as “Maybe going to die in the container, can’t breathe anymore,” and “I can’t breathe. Mum, I’m very sorry.”
23-year-old Harrison has denied the manslaughter charges made against him. 26-year-old Robinson has admitted to manslaughter and conspiracy along with Hughes, the owner of the trucking company involved.
Nica, Kennedy, and Calota, all also believed to have been involved in the smuggling ring, have also denied manslaughter and people smuggling conspiracy charges.