RONAN Hughes, the haulier at the centre of the Essex lorry deaths trial, has been jailed for 20 years at the Old Bailey this afternoon.
Along with Gheorge Nica, the court heard both men had played “leading roles” in the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants who were found in a lorry trailer in October 2019. Nica was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his part.
Laurelvale man Maurice Robinson, who was driving the lorry when they were discovered, has been sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. He had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, while Mayobridge man Eamonn Harrison, who had towed the trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, received 18 years.
Christopher Kennedy, from Darkley, has been jailed for seven years, while Alexandru Hanga and Valentin Calota were jailed for three years and four-and-a-half years respectively.
Judge Sweeney, sentencing, said those who had lost their lives “all died in what must have been an excruciatingly slow death”.
He added: "I have no doubt that the conspiracy was a sophisticated, long-running and profitable one to smuggle mainly Vietnamese people across the channel."