Thursday 21 November 2019

Man (23) described as 'person of interest' in Essex tragedy re-arrested by gardai after European Arrest Warrant issued

Stock photo: Gardai at Dublin Port. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Stock photo: Gardai at Dublin Port. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Ken Foy

A 23-year-old man who was arrested in Dublin Port last Saturday and who has been described as a “person of interest” in the Essex human smuggling tragedy has been re-arrested by gardai on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.

The Co Down truck driver was arrested by garda detectives in Cloverhill Prison this morning and is expected to appear in court later today.

Detectives received a European Arrest Warrant from police in Essex in relation to the suspect yesterday and executed that warrant in the west Dublin jail this morning where the suspect has been on remand since last Saturday.

Police have been investigating if the 23-year-old driver was involved in bringing a container which contained 39 people to Zeebrugge Port in Belgium before it was transported to Purfleet in England.

Police later found the bodies of eight women and 31 men in the refrigerated trailer of a lorry on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of Wednesday of last week.

Meanwhile, British detectives investigating the 39 lorry trailer deaths in Grays spoke to Ronan Hughes, one of the two brothers sought by Essex Police, on the phone but have urged the men to hand themselves in.

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Undated handout photo issued by Essex Police of Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Co Armagh in Northern Ireland. Photo credit: Essex Police/PA Wire

Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten told reporters at a press conference in Northern Ireland: "Today I want to make a direct appeal - Ronan and Christopher, hand yourselves in to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

"We need you both to come forward and assist this investigation. Although we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person.

"Talking to Ronan and Christopher is crucial to our investigation and the sooner we can make this happen the sooner we can progress and continue with our investigation."

Mr Stoten said officers had seized a lorry connected to the Hughes brothers on Thursday and appealed for information from the public on the pair's whereabouts.

He said: "It is essential we follow all lines of inquiry and bring those responsible for these tragic events to justice.

"Ronan and Christopher Hughes are known to have links in Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as the road haulage and shipping industries.

"We urge anyone who has been in contact with them or has any information about where they are to get in contact with us.

"Yesterday, on Thursday 31 October, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, acting upon information, stopped a lorry believed to be connected to the Hughes brothers. The vehicle was subsequently seized and no further arrests were made."

With additional reporting from PA

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