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Deaths of 39 Migrants: UK court begins trial of suspects

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Four men are due to go on trial in Britain on Monday (today) in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants whose bodies were found in a lorry in southeast England.

The grim discovery of 31 men and eight women inside the container truck on an industrial estate east of London last year threw fresh light on the plight of migrants desperate to reach Britain.

A post-mortem examination found the victims — 10 of them teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys — died from lack of oxygen and overheating in the refrigerated lorry.

Seven people were jailed in Vietnam last month for their role in the tragedy.

The four men on trial at the Old Bailey court in central London from Monday face a range of charges, from manslaughter to conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration.

They do not include the 25-year-old driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson of Northern Ireland.

He drove the truck onto a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge in the early hours of October 23, 2019.

Robinson admitted 39 counts of manslaughter and one of conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration at an April hearing.

Meanwhile, another man, 40-year-old Ronan Hughes, also from Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to the same charges at a hearing on August 28.

At an extradition hearing in Dublin on May 15, he was described as the “ringleader” of a human trafficking operation.

Both men will be sentenced at a later date.

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