A NORTHERN IRISHMAN has been extradited to the UK to face charges in relation to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a lorry container in Essex back in October last year.
23-year-old Eamonn Harrison of Mayobridge, Co. Down, is alleged to have driven the lorry trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before it sailed to Purfleet in England.
Harrison faces 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
"We can confirm he is in our custody," An Essex Police spokesman said.
"We will release more information about proceedings when we are able."
Harrison is set to appear via video link at Southend Migistrates' Court today.
The bodies of the Vietnamese migrants were found on an industrial estate in Grays shortly after the container arrived on a ferry from belgium in the early hours of October 23rd last year.
Among the dead were 10 teenagers, two of which were believed to be 15-years-old.
It's understood that the victims died some 12 hours before the lorry arrived in Essex.
A number of Northern Irish men were linked to the case, and Essex police launched an investigation into an alleged people-smuggling ring.
25-year-old Maurice Robinson, who took the container from the port where it arrived in Essex, phoned the police once he made the grizzly discovery that the people hiding in his container had died.
Robinson admitted 39 counts of manslaughter at the Old Bailey in April after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.