Harrowing moment trucker finds 39 migrants dead in airtight lorry ‘tomb’

A horrifying video shows the moment the bodies of 41 Vietnamese migrants were found suffocated to death in the back of an airtight lorry in Grays, Essex.

The CCTV has been released by Essex Police today, December 21, after the conclusion of a 10-week trial.

Maurice Robinson, the driver, who previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, opens the back of the lorry to make the tragic discovery.

CCTV also shows police officers running to the scene, on October 23 last year, only to find no survivors among the lifeless bodies, some of whom were children.

Robinson had phoned police 23 minutes after finding the bodies, having opened the truck after co-conspirator Ronan Hughes, 41, sent a message telling him to "give them air quickly, but don't let them out".

Hughes pleaded guilty to manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration in August.

Jurors heard that the migrants were sealed inside for at least 12 hours as the container was shipped from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Purfleet in Essex.

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Distressing images show dents in the lorry as the trapped migrants tried to force their way out.

At the Old Bailey today, the jury found Eamonn Harrison, a 24-year-old lorry driver from Mayobridge in Northern Ireland, guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter and guilty of one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Gheorghe Nica, 43, of Mimosa Close in Langdon Hills, was found guilty of the same charges.

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Christopher Kennedy, 24, of Corkley Road in Darkley, County Armagh, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law.

Valentin Calota, 38, of Cossingham Road in Birmingham, was found guilty of the same charge.

The parents of 15-year-old Nguyen Huy Hung, one of the two youngest victims who died in the lorry, recalled their son's love of football and how "peaceful and smart" he was.

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Meanwhile, the young son of 42-year-old victim Phan Thi Thanh wrote a heart-wrenching poem for his mother called "Beloved Mommy".

"For the people who still have a mommy, please don't make her cry, please love her and be kind," the grieving youngster writes.

Chief Constable of Essex Police, Ben-Julian Harrington, said of the verdict today: "The men who were found guilty today made their money from misery.

"They knew what they were doing was wrong, but they didn’t care.

"They tried to hide what they were doing. They attempted to evade detection.

"They thought they could cover up their crimes.

"Today, they have been proved wrong on every count.

"Whilst I feel immense pride for the Essex Police teams, and our partners, for this diligent investigation, none of us will stop thinking of the victims and their families.

"Those family members are, in most cases, halfway across the world, and their lives will never be the same again.

"We will never forget those 39 victims – men, women, and children – who were sold the lie of safe passage to our country."

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