Belfast Telegraph

Essex lorry deaths: Report police still to apply for arrest warrant

Christopher and Ronan Hughes (Essex Police/PA)
Christopher and Ronan Hughes (Essex Police/PA)

Essex police have still to issue an European Arrest warrant for two brothers wanted in connection with the deaths of 39 people found in a refrigerated lorry, it has been reported.

Co Armagh brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes have been urged to hand themselves into police for their investigation.

They are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking and believed to be living in the Republic of Ireland.

Last month Essex police Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten traveled to Belfast to make an appeal to the brothers in their investigation which is being assisted by the PSNI. He revealed he had spoken to Ronan Hughes by phone.

Extradition proceedings, however, have begun to bring Eamonn Harrison from Ireland to the UK.

He appeared at Dublin’s central criminal court last month after he was arrested with under a European Arrest Warrant in connection with the tragedy.

He is accused of driving the lorry with the refrigerated container to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was collected in Essex by Maurice Robinson.

Thirty-nine Vietnamese people, including eight women and 31 males - including two boys aged 15 - were found in a refrigerated trailer in an industrial estate in Essex on October 23.

The Guardian reports police have yet to issue paperwork which would allow the Garda Siochana to arrest the pair.

Essex police told the paper it was "working with partners to progress the case against these men".

Maurice Robinson (25) of Laurel Drive, Craigavon, has admitted plotting to assist illegal immigration. He is also charged with 39 counts of manslaughter but was not asked to enter a plea at last month's court hearing.

He is back in court on Friday.

It was revealed Robinson called Ronan Hughes shortly after he discovered the bodies in the trailer.

In a statement to the Belfast Telegraph, Essex Police said: "Two men remain as wanted by the force. Ronan Hughes, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh in Northern Ireland. Essex Police is working with partners to progress the case against these men.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call our Major Crime Team on 101 or contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or submit information through their website crimestoppers-uk.org."

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