Essex lorry deaths: Irish truck driver denies human trafficking charges

Essex lorry deaths: Irish truck driver denies human trafficking charges

A NORTHERN IRISH lorry driver, who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking in relation to the 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a lorry in Essex in October, has denied links to an alleged trafficking plot.

Christopher Kennedy, 23, from Darkley, Co. Armagh, appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday.

He pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit human trafficking offences between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019, by arranging or facilitating the travel of other people with a view to exploitation.

Kennedy also denied conspiring to assist unlawful immigration over the same period.

He's yet to enter a plea regarding the 39 charges of manslaughter he's been charged with.

Similarly, Mo Robinson, 25, who was driving the lorry transporting the migrants, is yet to enter a pleas regarding the manslaughter charges.

However, last month, Robinson pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit unlawful immigration as well as conspiring to commit human trafficking offences.

Robinson also faced the court on Friday, via a video link from Belmarsh prison in London where he's being held until a trial is held.

Of the 39 migrants found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry container, 10 were confirmed to be teenagers with one as young as 15.

Eight women also died in the lorry, while the rest were adult males.

A further hearing for Kennedy will be held for March next year.