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Essex lorry deaths: First 16 bodies repatriated to Vietnam | World News

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Sixteen of the 39 people found dead in a lorry in Essex last month have been repatriated to Vietnam.

They bodies arrived at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport early on Wednesday and were being taken to their families, said the country’s foreign ministry.

Maurice Robinson has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit unlawful immigration
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Maurice Robinson has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit unlawful immigration

It’s understood the rest will be repatriated later.

“After waiting for so many days, my son has finally arrived,” said the father of victim Nguyen Dinh Luong.

“We are deeply saddened, but we have to hold back the emotion to organise the funeral for my son.”

However, the families will have to pay up to £2,208 for the repatriation, according to a statement seen by the Reuters news agency.

They will able to pay the Vietnamese government back at a later date, said the foreign ministry statement, dated 14 November.

Pham Thi Tra My, from Vietnam, is one of the suspected victims
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Pham Thi Tra My is one of the suspected victims

The first victims to return home are from Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.

Police said earlier this month the 39 people were from six provinces – the others being Haiphong, Hai Duong, and Hue.

Lorry driver Maurice Robinson pleaded guilty on Monday to plotting to assist illegal immigration.

The 25-year-old, who is known as Mo, was allegedly part of a global smuggling ring and was charged with the manslaughter of a group of men, women and children found dead in the refrigerated lorry in Grays on 23 October.

Robinson, from Craigavon in Northern Ireland, appeared at the Old Bailey via video link for a plea hearing.

He was not asked to enter a plea for the manslaughter charges.

Essex lorry deaths
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Police discovered the bodies on 23 October on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex

All the victims – 31 males and eight females – were later identified as being from Vietnam, with the youngest two boys aged 15.

The tragedy has highlighted the risks taken by people desperate to enter the UK and the illegal network that ferries them across the globe.

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