25-year-old Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 39 people who were found in a truck on October 23 last year.
The lorry driver from Craigavon in Northern Ireland previously admitted plotting to assist illegal immigration.
He faced charges relating to the deaths of 39 victims who were discovered in the back of a refrigerated truck on October 23, 2019.
Robinson has also been charged with acquiring criminal property and concealing criminal property, alongside plot offenses and manslaughter.
The 25-year-old is alleged to have been a part of a global criminal smuggling ring. According to reports, he picked up the truck containing the bodies at 12:30am on October 23, 2019 at Purfleet in Essex. He then drove out of the port at 1:05am.
The 8 women and 31 men were mostly Vietnamese and were found in a refrigerated truck with Robinson’s Scania cab, which he had named ‘The Polar Express.’
When the lorry arrived from Belgium, the victims had already been dead for at least 12 hours before police found them around 35 minutes after the lorry was stopped.
Essex Police confirmed the names of the victims.
“This was an incredibly important process and our team has been working hard to bring answers to worried families who fear their loved one may be among those whose tragic journey ended on our shores,” said Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith.
“It remained of paramount importance to us to ensure that an individual’s next of kin were informed, and that they were given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one’s identity.
“We have worked closely with the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Vietnamese Authorities to identify and locate their families.”
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