Vietnamese migrants tried to break out of the back of a truck, court hears

Vietnamese migrants who suffocated to death in Essex lorry left slash marks after trying to battle their way out with a metal pole, court hears

  • The temperature inside the lorry trailer reached 38.5C, the Old Bailey has heard
  • Migrants inside the container attempted to smash the door open to get air 
  • The people smuggling trial has been adjourned while a juror is tested for Covid
  • The migrants died following a journey between Zeebrugge and Purfleet, Essex

By Darren Boyle for MailOnline

Published: 18:36, 4 November 2020 | Updated: 18:38, 4 November 2020

Some of the 39 Vietnamese migrants who died in the back of a people smuggler's truck had tried to batter their way out with a metal pole.

The jury have seen shocking images of slash marks made by the edge of the steel pole in the container which carried the victims to their death from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet in Essex last 23 October.

The Old Bailey has heard temperatures inside the trailer reached an 'unbearable' 38.5C as the migrants sailed across the English channel in hopes of a brighter future.

The Old Bailey heard that migrants inside the back of this trailer attempted to break out before they ran out of air

Vietnamese migrants tried to break out of the back of a truck, court hears

The trial of the four men has been halted while a juror awaits the results of a Covid-19 test

The trial of four accused people smugglers in connection with the tragedy has been halted as a juror awaits results from a coronavirus test.

Irish truck driver Eammon Harrison, 23, and British-Romanian Gheorghe Nica, 43, are accused of killing the Vietnamese nationals who were found suffocated in a trailer near Grays, Essex.

Christopher Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Calota, 37, are also accused of having been part of a global smuggling ring driving non-EU citizens into the UK before the tragedy last 23 October.

The juror, who did not attend court on Monday, met with her sister last Monday before the sibling tested positive for coronavirus last weekend.

Vietnamese migrants tried to break out of the back of a truck, court hears

Irish truck driver Eammon Harrison, 23, and British-Romanian Gheorghe Nica, 43, are accused of killing the Vietnamese nationals who were found suffocated in a trailer near Grays, Essex.

Christopher Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Calota, 37, are also accused of having been part of a global smuggling ring driving non-EU citizens into the UK before the tragedy last 23 October

She sat on the jury the following three days but observed the strict social distancing measures in place at the Old Bailey.

Mr Justice Sweeney said the trial must be halted pending the result of an NHS test and adjourned the hearing until further notice.

Harrison, from Mayobridge, County Down, denies 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

Nica, of Mimosa Close, Langdon Hills, Basildon, Essex, denies 39 counts of manslaughter and admits one of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration.

Kennedy, of Corkley Road, Northern Ireland, and Calota, of Cossington Road, Birmingham, each denies of conspiring to assist unlawful immigration between May 2018 and 24 October 2019.

The trial is due to resume tomorrow. 

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