October 28, 2019 / 10:53 AM / 25 days ago

Driver of truck found with 39 bodies appears in British court

A police officer stands outside Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, in Chelmsford, Britain October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

CHELMSFORD, England (Reuters) - The driver of a truck in which 39 people were found dead appeared in a British court via video link on Monday charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to traffick people.

The discovery of 39 bodies in a refrigerated truck on an industrial estate east of London has shone a spotlight on the illicit global trade in people which sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Driver Maurice Robinson, 25, appeared in Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court via video link, confirming his name and address. He wore a grey sweatshirt.

Robinson is charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffick people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering, police said.

He made no application for bail. He was remanded in custody until Nov. 25 when the case will continue at the Old Bailey, London’s Central Criminal Court, and he will enter a plea.

Robinson was arrested shortly after the grisly discovery of the bodies in the early hours of Wednesday a few miles from the English port of Purfleet. The container had travelled from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

Reporting by Michael Holden; writing by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Estelle Shirbon

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