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migrant tragedy Tyrone man appears in court charged in connection with Essex lorry deaths

Man appeared by video link and will appear in court again next month

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Police in Essex investigate the lorry in which 39 Vietnamese migrants died in 2019.  (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Police in Essex investigate the lorry in which 39 Vietnamese migrants died in 2019. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Police in Essex investigate the lorry in which 39 Vietnamese migrants died in 2019. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

A County Tyrone haulier has appeared in court charged in connection with the deaths of migrants found in the back of a lorry in Essex in 2019.

Caolan Gormley (23), from the Kedew Road in Caledon, has been charged with conspiracy to assist illegal immigration.

39 Vietnamese nationals were found in the lorry on October 23, 2019, in the Grays area of Essex.

Northern Irish man Mo Robinson, who was driving the lorry at the time, was later found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison.

Robinson discovered the bodies on the back of the lorry's container after the unit arrived into Purfleet having travelled from from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

He appeared by video-link at Southend Magistrate’s Court.

During the hearing it was alleged that Gormley allowed vehicles in his haulage fleet to be used for transporting migrants into the United Kingdom.

He spoke only to confirm his identity and that he understood the proceedings.

Gormley is due to enter a plea at the Old Bailey on April 14 and was granted unconditional bail until that date.

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