Truck driver pleads guilty in trafficking case that killed 39

The man who police say drove the truck that later turned up the bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals in Britain pleaded guilty Monday in the case.

Police are seen outside Chelmsford Magistrates Court in, Essex, Britain, on October 28 during a court hearing for truck driver Maurice Robinson. Photo by Will Oliver

Maurice Robinson, who was arrested shortly after the bodies were found on Oct. 23 in a refrigerated trailer in Essex, entered the plea by video link from London’s Belmarsh prison.

There, he entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration with others and acquiring criminal property. Robinson, however, did not enter a plea on the more serious charges of manslaughter. Authorities have charged him with 39 counts in connection with the deaths.

Robinson, 25, is scheduled to return to court Dec. 13.

Robinson is one of several persons in the case from Northern Ireland. Police said Friday they’d arrested an unidentified 23-year-old Northern Ireland man in connection with the deaths — and Northern Ireland citizen Eamonn Harrison is awaiting extradition from Ireland.

Two other men and a woman were released on bail after their arrest and police are looking for brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes, also from Northern Ireland. Vietnamese authorities said they have also made several arrests in the case.

ByClyde Hughes