Man facing extradition to UK over migrant deaths remanded in custody

A 40-year-old man facing extradition to the UK on 39 charges of manslaughter and a charge of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration has been remanded in custody at the High Court in Dublin.

Ronan Hughes, 40, from Silverstream, Tyholland in Co Monaghan, was detained on Monday following the execution of a European Arrest Warrant in the Irish Republic.

He faces 39 charges of manslaughter and a charge of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration in connection with the deaths of 39 migrants found in a refrigerated lorry container in Essex.

Hughes was arrested on Tuesday in Co Monaghan by police in the Republic of Ireland on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

Police activity in 2019 at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex
Police activity in 2019 at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex (Aaron Chown/PA)

Essex Police said in a statement that the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service had authorised manslaughter charges against him and immigration offences.

Hughes will apply for bail next Wednesday and has been remanded in custody until then.

His extradition hearing is due to be held in Dublin on May 1.

Hughes said nothing during the short hearing in Dublin’s Central Criminal Court on Tuesday morning apart from “thank you judge”.

Judge Paul Burns said he considered the warrant to have been duly executed and was satisfied the person in court is the person it had been issued for.

He said Mr Hughes had been informed of his rights to surrender to the request to be extradited.

The 39 Vietnamese nationals were found in a lorry container parked on an industrial estate in Grays on October 23 last year.

Ten teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys, were among those found dead.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Maurice Robinson
Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Maurice Robinson (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

On April 8, Maurice Robinson, 25, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland, pleaded guilty to 39 counts of manslaughter at the Old Bailey in London.

He previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property at the same court on November 25.

He is due to be sentenced at a later date.

In February, Eamonn Harrison, of Mayobridge, Northern Ireland, was granted permission to appeal against his extradition to the UK under the terms of a European Arrest Warrant issued by Essex Police.

The 22-year-old is facing 39 manslaughter charges, one of human trafficking and one of assisting unlawful immigration.

A further hearing in Harrison’s case will be held in Dublin on May 7.

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