Driver charged with manslaughter of 39 people in refrigerated lorry trailer

He was also charged with people trafficking, immigration and money laundering.

Syahindah Ishak| October 27, 01:06 PM

31 men and eight women were found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex on Oct. 23.

The victims allegedly froze to death in the refrigerated container, which had temperatures as low as -25°C.

Lorry driver charged with manslaughter

According to The Guardian, Essex police announced on Saturday (Oct. 26) that the driver, Maurice Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.

Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland was also charged with people trafficking, immigration and money laundering.

He is scheduled in court on Monday (Oct. 28).

Other arrests

BBC reported that three other people have also been arrested in connection to the case, on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

They include a man and a woman, both 38, from Cheshire, and a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland.

They remain in police custody.

A man in his 20s was also arrested by Irish police in Dublin on Saturday (Oct. 26).

Victims are Vietnamese

Earlier media reports have stated that the victims were Chinese nationals.

However, the victims are now suspected to be Vietnamese.

Families from Vietnam got in touch

A number of families from Vietnam have gotten in touch with the Vietnam embassy in London to enquire about missing relatives.

According to the BBC, many Vietnamese families have contacted them, fearing that their relatives are one of the victims.

The family of Pham Thi Tra My, 26, was one of the those who contacted BBC.

Pham's last message to her family was on Tuesday (Oct. 22).

In one of the text messages shared by her parents, Pham wrote:

"I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed.

I am dying, I can't breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother."

BBC  stated that the identity of the victims has yet to be confirmed.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked relevant authorities to confirm their identities as soon as possible.

Top photos by Mo Robinson/FB & Leon Neal/Getty Images.