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Driver charged over deaths of 39 people in UK lorry, say police

Police move the lorry container where bodies were discovered, in Grays, Essex, Britain Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP London Oct 26, 2019, 10.29 PM (IST)

British police investigating the deaths of 39 people in a refrigerated truck said Saturday they had charged a driver arrested at the scene with manslaughter and people trafficking.

Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, faces "39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering", police said.

Robinson was arrested shortly after the bodies were discovered in the truck at Purfleet on the River Thames estuary, after arriving on a ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge early on Wednesday.

He will appear in court on Monday, Essex police said.

Three other people have been arrested in Britain in connection with the investigation, on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter. They remain in custody.

They include a 38-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman from Warrington in northwest England, reportedly a couple. She is said to be the legal owner of the truck.

A 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland is also being held.

On Saturday, Irish police announced another arrest at Dublin port, of a man in his early 20s from Northern Ireland.

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Maurice Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, faces "39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering", police said.