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Essex lorry deaths: Suspect Mo Robinson's parents fly from Northern Ireland to support son

 

The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaves Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, heading towards Tilbury Docks under police escort
The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaves Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, heading towards Tilbury Docks under police escort
Mo Robinson
The village of Laurelvale near Portadown, where it is believed Mo Robinson lived with his parents
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

The parents of Mo Robinson have flown to England to support their son following his arrest.

The Co Armagh man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder following the discovery of 39 bodies in the trailer of a lorry in Essex.

It is also understood that the 25-year-old is about to become a father.

Outside the Laurelvale home of Mr Robinson's mother and father last night, anxious neighbours chatted amongst themselves on their doorsteps as media crews descended on this quiet, residential area of the village.

Several attempts were made to speak to Robinson's father, Mark, but the family home lay in darkness.

Neighbours said they had already flown out to England.

Most people in this close-knit community were not prepared to comment on the situation.

However, one resident explained that Mr Robinson no longer lives with his parents, although he would still see him visit his mother and father every few weeks.

"His parents are away to England and all," he added, when asked where the lorry driver's parents might be.

Tempers flared after a journalist, who had just arrived from England, tried to speak to neighbours gathered outside one of the houses.

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Mo Robinson

It was clear that residents had grown weary of the large media presence that had invaded this working-class unionist area and disrupted their lives.

The Robinson family is closely connected with Mid-Ulster Football League side Laurelvale FC, with Mr Robinson's father being named as a contact for the club.

When asked if Laurelvale FC would like to comment on the developments coming from England, the secretary of the club replied: "We're not prepared to say anything at this time."

Local unionist councillor Paul Berry explained that he had spoken to Robinson's father "a couple of times" yesterday and said the family were well respected in the Laurelvale area.

"When I was talking to him nothing had been confirmed to him that it was Mo," continued Mr Berry, who knows the family personally. "The police or nobody of that nature had informed him.

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"I have been liaising with the police and this is a very unique, dreadful state of affairs."

The councillor added that he suspects the Robinson family flew to England to understand what was going on but he stressed that Mo Robinson was "innocent until proven guilty".

"That's very important to stress and let the Essex police do their work," he told The Belfast Telegraph.

"The family also needs space at this time because no one ever would have thought this would have come at somebody's door."

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The village of Laurelvale near Portadown, where it is believed Mo Robinson lived with his parents

Describing the village as "numb", Mr Berry said that the hearts of the residents are with those who lost their lives, as well as the Robinson family.

"As I say, it's in the hands of the police and let them get on with their work and let's hope that whoever was responsible for this disastrous affair is brought before the courts," he stated.

"We need to think of the family, and of Mark and his wife, at this time. I think that's important."

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