Northern Ireland news

Man arrested in Northern Ireland over Essex lorry deaths

The container lorry where 39 Vietnamese people were found dead in an Essex industrial estate in October 2019. Picture by Aaron Chown, Press Association

A 22-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals found dead in a refrigerated container in Essex.

The man was arrested in Northern Ireland on Sunday but details have just been released by police.

Essex Police also confirmed that Gheorghe Nica (43) from Essex, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration after being detained at Frankfurt Airport in Germany in January and brought back to the UK on a European Arrest Warrant.

Nica appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Saturday and will next appear at the Old Bailey on March 16.

The force added that post-mortem examinations had been completed and the provisional cause of death for all those found in the container in October last year was a combination of lack of oxygen and overheating in an enclosed space.

Emergency services had been called to an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, shortly after a lorry arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among 39 Vietnamese nationals whose bodies were discovered in the lorry trailer in the early hours of October 23.

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