Man charged with 39 counts of manslaughter after bodies found in back of truck

Ellis Whitehouse, (Basildon, England) Echo

BASILDON, England – A man has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people after 39 bodies were discovered in the back of a truck he was driving outside London. .

Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland, is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on Monday, according to a statement from Essex Police.

He is also charged with conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering, police said.

A Saturday statement from Essex police says three other people have been arrested in connection with the discovery. Two — a man and a woman, both 38 years old — are from Warrington in England. Another man, 48, is from Northern Ireland. All were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and manslaughter.

Police in Ireland say an additional suspect from Northern Ireland who is in his early 20s was arrested at Dublin's airport. That marks the fifth arrest in the investigation of one of Britain's deadliest people-smuggling cases ever.

Police confirmed earlier Saturday that all bodies have been removed from the lorry and are now in Broomfield Hospital.

U.K. police are struggling to identify the victims, who are believed to have come from Asia, and autopsies are being performed. The Vietnamese Embassy in London has set up a hotline for families to call about missing family members.

The latest: More arrests after 39 bodies discovered in truck; Vietnamese nationals may be among dead

Contributing: The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Essex lorry deaths: Maurice Robinson charged 39 counts of manslaughter

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