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Sunday 17 November 2019

'I was driving biscuits' - man arrested at Dublin Port claimed to gardai

Gardai at Dublin Port
Gardai at Dublin Port

A man arrested at Dublin Port in connection with the migrant truck tragedy had been driving a load of biscuits, it was claimed according to a source.

The man, who is in his 20s and from Co Down, was arrested by Garda National Immigration Bureau officers at Dublin Port on Saturday afternoon as he drove his truck off a ferry from Holyhead.

He is suspected of driving a container from an unknown location to Zeebrugge in Belgium.

From there, it is believed, the container was moved to a ferry bound for Purfleet, Essex, without its cab and driver.

Essex Police are due to visit Dublin to speak to the suspect after the deaths of 39 migrants in a truck transported from Zeebrugge to Essex.

According to sources in Belgium, the man's boarding documents said he was carrying a load of biscuits.

The truck driven by the man to Dublin Port is to be examined by gardai.

Investigators believe the smuggling of migrants was an intricate operation led by a network, rather than one or two individuals.

So far there have been a series of arrests of suspects from Northern Ireland and the Republic, focusing the investigation on the island of Ireland.

Charged

On Saturday, truck driver Maurice 'Mo' Robinson (25), from Laurelvale, Portadown, Co Armagh, was charged in the UK with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering. He is due to appear before Chelmsford Magistrates' Court today.

Three other people arrested in connection with the deaths have been released on bail.

A man and woman, both 38 and married and living in Warrington but from Ireland, were arrested in Cheshire on Friday and a 45-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested at Stansted Airport later the same day.

All three were questioned on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

The married couple from Warrington, north-west England, were released on bail until November 11, while the Northern Ireland man has been bailed until November 13, police said.

British police found the corpses of eight women and 31 men in the refrigerated trailer of a lorry on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of last Wednesday.

A number of Vietnamese nationals are feared to be among the dead.

Officers had originally believed the victims were all Chinese but a website for Vietnamese people in the UK - VietHome - stated it had passed on photographs of almost 20 missing people to police.

Officers are examining any identifying markers on bodies, including tattoos and scars, and they are also looking at any belongings found, including jewellery and clothing.

Each victim had some kind of bag with them for their journey.

More than 500 exhibits have been collected, including mobile phones, which will also be examined for information that could identify victims and give any leads on how they came to be in the back of the truck.

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