Northern Irish lorry driver pleads guilty

Maurice ‘Mo’ Robinson

The Northern Irish lorry driver accused over the deaths of 39 migrants has pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration.

Maurice Robinson (25) who was allegedly part of a global smuggling ring, is charged with the manslaughter of a group of men, women and children found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Essex.

The bodies of eight females and 31 males were discovered in the trailer attached to his Scania cab in an industrial park in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of 23 October.

The victims were later identified as coming from various provinces of Vietnam, with the youngest being two boys aged 15.

Mr Robinson, who is known as Mo, appeared at the Old Bailey via video link from Belmarsh prison for a plea hearing.

He admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between May 1st, 2018, and October 24th, 2019.

The charge states that he plotted with others to do “an act or series of acts which facilitated the commission of a breach of immigration law by various persons”.

He also admitted acquiring criminal property — namely cash — on the same dates.

He has been remanded in custody until there is a further hearing on 13 December.

Another 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland was separately charged on Sunday with charges of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the travel of people with a view to exploitation and conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law. He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court in England on Monday.

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