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funeral doubts Trafficker Ronan Hughes in mourning after dad passes away

It is doubtful whether he would be granted compassionate parole to attend his father's funeral.

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Ronan Hughes, from Co Armagh.

Ronan Hughes, from Co Armagh.

Ronan Hughes, from Co Armagh.

People trafficker Ronan Hughes is in mourning this weekend after his father died yesterday morning.

The news was delivered to Hughes in his English prison cell where he is awaiting the outcome of a New Year sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese immigrants in October 2019.

The cause of his father Jerry's death is unclear but the Sunday World understands it is not Covid related. The family has requested donations in lieu of flowers to heart and lung transplant services.

It is understood Mr Hughes had been ill for some time, his funeral will take place at St Patrick's Church in his native Tyholland in Co. Monaghan tomorrow.

Ronan Hughes (47) was the ringleader of the people-smuggling racket.

It is doubtful whether he would be granted compassionate parole to attend his father's funeral given Covid restrictions and the fact he was subject of extended extradition proceedings between the UK and Ireland.

During the trial of Co. Armagh man Maurice Robinson, driver of the container lorry and who discovered the 39 bodies on arrival in Essex, it emerged Hughes told him to "give them air quickly" but not let them out.

Hughes, from Co. Monaghan, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and people smuggling in August.

To date eight people have been convicted in relation to the incident - including four for manslaughter.

Distressing details of the moment driver Robinson discovered his tragic cargo have been aired at London's Old Bailey where he, Hughes and others will find how long they will remain behind bars for their part in the atrocity.

When he opened the sealed container in Grays in Essex in October 2019 he found the Vietnamese migrants had all suffocated.

The migrants, aged 15 to 44, were in the container for at least 12 hours as it was shipped from Belgium to Purfleet in Essex.

Prosecutors said temperatures reached an "unbearable" 38.5C.


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