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Who Maurice Robinson is and charges he faced

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0 Bodies found in lorry container

A documentary exploring the death of 39 migrants is set to air on the BBC.

Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers will tell the true story behind one of the UK’s biggest ever police investigations.

The programme documents how a 999 call from lorry driver Maurice Robinson in Essex eventually led to detectives uncovering a multi-million pound international smuggling ring.

READ MORE: Who was Stephen Lawrence and what happened to him?

When police responded to the 999 call on October 23 2019, they discovered that 39 Vietnamese migrants had suffocated to death in the lorry’s sealed container.

31 men, eight women and a 15-year-old were amongst the victims who had been shipped from Zeebrugge to Essex.

The roots of the smuggling operation were in a seemingly innocuous looking haulage firm based in Northern Ireland.

Maurice Robinson is a 26-year-old former lorry driver from Co Armagh who initially claimed he did not know he was part of a human trafficking operation.

His partner had been pregnant at the time of the incident – and he later admitted to his role in a multi-million pound smuggling operation led by 41-year-old Ronan Hughes.

He was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and also pleaded guilty to money laundering for his part in the operation which dated back to May 2018.

Maurice was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison for his role in the crime at a court hearing in January 2021.

Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers will air on BBC 2 on Wednesday at 9pm

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