UK police arrest man and woman for human trafficking over truck deaths

Updated – October 25, 2019

Police investigating the deaths of 39 people, believed to be Chinese nationals, found in a truck near London said they had arrested two people on Friday on suspicion of human trafficking and continued to question the driver as a murder suspect.

As China called on Britain to seek “severe punishment” for those involved in the deaths, police said they had detained a man and a woman, both aged 38, in Warrington, northwest England, on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and of 39 counts of manslaughter.

The 25-year-old truck driver remains in custody after being arrested following the grim discovery of the bodies in the back of his refrigerated truck in the early hours of Wednesday.

In this October 23 file photo, police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England. — AP
In this October 23 file photo, police forensic officers attend the scene after a truck was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, in Thurrock, South England. — AP

He has not been formally identified but a source familiar with the investigation named him as Mo Robinson from the Portadown area of Northern Ireland. Detectives will decide later whether to charge him with an offence, release him or ask a court for more time to question him.

Late on Thursday, British authorities moved 11 of the victims — 31 men and eight women — to a hospital mortuary from a secure location at docks near the industrial estate in Grays about 20 miles (30 km) east of London where the bodies were found.

Post-mortem examinations were beginning to determine how exactly they died while forensic experts sought to identify the deceased, which police warned would be a lengthy process.

The British police said they believed the victims were Chinese and China’s Embassy in London said it had sent a team to Essex. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said police had not yet been able to verify the nationalities of the deceased.

“We hope that the British side can as soon as possible confirm and verify the identities of the victims, ascertain what happened and severely punish criminals involved in the case,” she told a daily news briefing.

For years, illegal immigrants have attempted to reach Britain stowed away in trucks, often from the European mainland. In 2000, 58 Chinese were found dead in a tomato truck at the port of Dover.

China’s Global Times, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said in a Friday editorial that Britain should bear some responsibility for the deaths.

“It is clear that Britain and relevant European countries have not fulfilled their responsibility to protect these people from such a death,” the widely read tabloid said.

It added that Britain appeared not to have learned its lesson from the Dover incident two decades ago.

“Could the British and European people ask themselves why they have not been able to avoid a similar tragedy … Did they take all the serious remedial action that they could have?” it said.

Truck’s movements

The police investigation is focused on the movement of the trailer prior to its arrival at Purfleet docks near Grays little more than an hour before the bodies were found, and on who was behind the suspected human trafficking.

“This is the largest investigation of its kind Essex Police has ever had to conduct and it is likely to take some considerable time to come to a conclusion,” Essex Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said.

His force has said their priority was ensuring respect and compassion in treatment of the victims.

Irish company Global Trailer Rentals said it owned the trailer and had rented it out on Oct. 15. The firm said it was unaware of what it was to be used for.

The refrigeration unit had travelled to Britain from Zeebrugge in Belgium and the town’s chairman, Dirk de Fauw, said he believed the victims died in the trailer before it arrived in the Belgian port.

The Times newspaper reported that GPS data showed the container had arrived at the Belgian port at 2.49pm local time on Tuesday before later making the 10-hour sea crossing to Britain.

Police said the cab unit of the truck was driven over from Dublin on Sunday, crossing the Irish Sea by ship and entering Britain in North Wales. It picked up the trailer in Purfleet shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

The National Crime Agency, which targets serious and organised crime, said it was helping the investigation and working urgently to identify any gangs involved.

The head of the Road Haulage Association said traffickers were “upping their game” and closer cooperation with European nations was needed, although that may be complicated by Britain’s planned exit from the European Union.

8 thoughts on “UK police arrest man and woman for human trafficking over truck deaths

  • July 16, 2020 at 9:25 pm
    Permalink

    I intended to create you that very small observation in order to say thank you again for these nice techniques you’ve shared above. It has been really open-handed of you to supply unhampered what exactly some people would have supplied as an e-book in order to make some dough for themselves, most notably since you could have done it if you ever wanted. Those tips as well acted to provide a easy way to comprehend the rest have the identical zeal just like my very own to figure out a lot more with regard to this matter. I know there are numerous more fun situations up front for people who find out your blog post.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2020 at 10:23 am
    Permalink

    I am glad for commenting to let you be aware of what a fine experience my friend’s princess had checking your site. She figured out several issues, with the inclusion of what it is like to have a very effective helping style to get certain people without hassle thoroughly grasp various extremely tough topics. You truly did more than my desires. Thank you for providing such essential, healthy, educational not to mention easy thoughts on the topic to Ethel.

    Reply
  • July 23, 2020 at 5:35 pm
    Permalink

    My husband and i got really thrilled that Chris managed to deal with his homework by way of the precious recommendations he made from your own blog. It’s not at all simplistic to simply choose to be giving out tips that many the others might have been making money from. We consider we now have the website owner to give thanks to because of that. The specific illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward site navigation, the friendships your site give support to engender – it is all exceptional, and it’s assisting our son in addition to the family understand the topic is enjoyable, and that’s rather important. Thanks for the whole thing!

    Reply
  • July 27, 2020 at 12:43 am
    Permalink

    I simply wanted to send a note so as to express gratitude to you for all the stunning instructions you are writing at this site. My time consuming internet lookup has at the end been recognized with pleasant knowledge to exchange with my family members. I would believe that most of us visitors are truly blessed to dwell in a great place with so many perfect people with helpful strategies. I feel quite privileged to have come across the website and look forward to some more awesome moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2020 at 10:01 pm
    Permalink

    I’m just writing to let you know what a fabulous discovery my cousin’s daughter developed checking the blog. She even learned such a lot of issues, not to mention how it is like to possess an amazing coaching mood to make a number of people really easily have an understanding of some impossible issues. You actually surpassed our own desires. Thanks for churning out the invaluable, dependable, educational and easy guidance on your topic to Gloria.

    Reply
  • August 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm
    Permalink

    I and my friends have been reading through the best tricks on the blog while the sudden I had a terrible feeling I never expressed respect to the website owner for those strategies. These women ended up certainly excited to learn all of them and have in effect simply been taking pleasure in those things. Thank you for simply being very helpful and then for having some excellent information most people are really needing to be aware of. My very own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

    Reply
  • August 4, 2020 at 5:02 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for all of your labor on this website. My mom loves engaging in investigations and it’s easy to understand why. I hear all of the dynamic mode you convey very important strategies on your website and therefore inspire response from some other people on that idea then our own girl is truly starting to learn a lot. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You have been doing a really good job.

    Reply
  • August 7, 2020 at 7:31 am
    Permalink

    Thank you so much for providing individuals with remarkably nice chance to read from this site. It is always very enjoyable and stuffed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office co-workers to visit your site really three times weekly to read through the new issues you have. And of course, we’re usually happy for the astounding creative concepts you give. Some 2 facts on this page are unquestionably the very best we’ve ever had.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *