Essex

Man charged with immigration offence over Essex lorry deaths

Lorry container being moved under police escort Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated trailer

A man has been charged with an immigration offence over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants whose bodies were found in a lorry in Essex.

The 31 men and eight women were found in a refrigerated trailer in Grays on 23 October.

Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 27, of Hobart Road, Tilbury, allegedly committed the offence between May 2018 and October 2019.

He is due at Basildon Magistrates' Court later.

Last month, a preliminary cause of death was given as a combination of suffocation and overheating in an enclosed space.

Several people have been arrested in connection with the deaths and an alleged people-trafficking ring, including the lorry driver Maurice Robinson, of Craigavon, County Armagh.

At the Old Bailey in November, he admitted conspiring to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

Three other men have also been charged in relation to the deaths.

Last month seven people were arrested and charged in Vietnam for "organising or broking others to flee abroad or stay abroad illegally".

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