FILE - In this Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019 file photo, police escort the truck, that was found to contain a large number of dead bodies, as they move it from an industrial estate in Thurrock, south England. Maurice Robinson, the truck driver charged with manslaughter over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a truck, pleaded guilty on Monday Nov. 25, 2019, to lesser charges. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Man accused over 39 truck deaths admits immigration offense

November 25, 2019 - 7:14 am

LONDON (AP) — A truck driver charged with manslaughter over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a truck pleaded guilty on Monday to lesser charges.

Maurice Robinson, who is accused of being part of an international people-smuggling ring, admitted plotting with others to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

Robinson, 25, appeared at London’s Central Criminal Court by video link from prison. He wasn’t asked to enter pleas to 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people, and he faces another court hearing on Dec. 13.

The bodies of 29 people were found Oct. 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. Police say the victims were all from Vietnam and aged between 15 to 44.

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers for their clandestine transit into England.

Two other men have been arrested in Britain and Ireland connection with the case.

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