Irish truck driver for the death of 39 people in container

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LONDON (AP) – An Irish truck driver appeared before an English court on Wednesday, charged with the manslaughter of 39 people found dead in a container in the south east of England in an apparent smuggling disaster.

Ronan Hughes, 40, appeared at Southend Magistrates Court, east of London, via a video link from a police station after being extradited from Ireland.

The Vietnamese nationals were found on October 23 in an industrial park in the English town of Grays in a refrigerated container that had arrived by ferry from Belgium.

The victims came from impoverished villages in Vietnam and are said to have paid people smugglers to take them on risky journeys towards a better life abroad.

The 25-year-old truck driver, Maurice Robinson, admitted 39 manslaughter in April. Previously, he had been found guilty of conspiracy to assist illegal immigration.

Hughes was not asked to submit a plea and was incarcerated from a hearing on July 22 in the Central Criminal Court in London.

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