Essex port where the truck was found after departing Belgium

A lorry driver from County Down will be extradited to the UK as part of the investigation into 39 deaths in Essex last October, an Irish judge has ruled.


Eamonn Harrison, 23, from Mayobridge, appeared at the High Court in Dublin on Friday. A European Arrest Warrant had been issued seeking his extradition from Ireland to the UK.


He is wanted in connection with the deaths of 31 men and eight women, all from Vietnam, whose bodies were discovered in a lorry container in Grays, Essex on October 23. Two lorry drivers from County Armagh have been charged with manslaughter and other offences. Rumours of an international human trafficking ring have circulated since the incident.


Harrison is alleged to have driven the container to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge and signed the shipping notice for it. He is accused of 41 offences – 39 counts of manslaughter, one count of human trafficking, and one of assisting unlawful immigration.


If convicted of manslaughter, Harrison could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.


Mr Justice Donald Binchy approved Harrison’s extradition, although will not make his judgement available in full until Monday. Defence counsel has said it will decide whether or not to appeal the extradition upon reading Justice Binchy’s judgement.


Harrison has been remanded into custody. He will appear in court on February 4.