Essex

Grays lorry deaths: Driver denies links to human trafficking plot

lorry Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated trailer

A lorry driver has denied links to an alleged human trafficking plot after the deaths of 39 people in a refrigerated container.

Christopher Kennedy, 23, from Darkley, County Armagh, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Co-defendant Maurice Robinson, 25, also faced the court via a video link from Belmarsh prison in London.

Ten teenagers were among 39 Vietnamese nationals found dead in the lorry trailer at Grays, Essex, on 23 October.

Eight women and 31 males, including two boys, aged 15, died in the trailer.

Mr Kennedy pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit human trafficking offences between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019, by arranging or facilitating the travel of other people with a view to exploitation.

He also denied conspiring to assist unlawful immigration over the same period.

Robinson, known as Mo, has previously admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019, and acquiring criminal property, namely cash.

The 25-year-old, of Laurel Drive in Craigavon, has yet to enter pleas to 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit human trafficking and transferring criminal property.

Mr Justice Edis set a further hearing for March next year.

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