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Romanian arrested over deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in Essex

Romanian man, 28, is arrested by Italian police over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex

  • Stefan Damian Dragos allegedly provided the truck used to smuggle the victims
  • The 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a trailer in October 2019
  • He was arrested in Italy after UK police issued an international arrest warrant
  • UK authorities want to question Dragos on suspicion of manslaughter  

Italian police said on Saturday they had arrested a Romanian citizen who is the subject of an international arrest warrant from the UK for the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese people who were being smuggled into Britain.

Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, allegedly provided the truck which was used to smuggle the group of migrants, who were found dead in a freight container on the back of the vehicle in October 2019, Italian police said in a statement.

There was no immediate statement from the suspect or from any lawyer representing him. He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan, but police gave no further details.

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

Italian police arrested Stefan Damian Dragos, 28, on suspicion of being involved in the attempt to smuggle 39 Vietnamese migrants into the UK

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan and faces extradition to the UK where police want to question him in connection with the 39 deaths

The discovery of so many dead people – two as young as 15 – in the back of the truck on an industrial estate to the east of London shocked Britain and Vietnam. 

It also shone a spotlight on the illicit global trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Most of those who died were from Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial reward abroad fuel migration.

In January four men who admitted or were found guilty of manslaughter and immigration offences were given long jail sentences.

References

  1. ^ Darren Boyle for MailOnline (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Italian police arrest man allegedly involved in UK truck deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants

Italian police have arrested a man who is the subject of an international arrest warrant from the UK for the manslaughter of 39 people who were being smuggled into Britain in the back of a refrigerated truck.

The 28-year-old Romanian man, Stefan Damian Dragos, allegedly provided the truck which was used to smuggle the group of Vietnamese migrants.

There was no immediate statement from the suspect or from any lawyer representing him.

He was arrested in the town of Cinisello Balsamo, north of Milan, but police gave no further details.

All 39 migrants were found dead in a freight container on the back of the vehicle in the town of Greys in October 2019.

The truck and the trailer took separate journeys[1] before both ending up on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 40 kilometres east of London on the River Thames.

The truck is believed to have travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales last Sunday before picking up the trailer at the dockside in England.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov confirmed the red Scania truck was registered in Bulgaria in 2017, but had not entered Bulgarian territory since.

The discovery of so many dead people — one just 15 years old — in the back of the truck on an industrial estate shone a shocking spotlight on the illicit global trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Most of the victims were from the neighbouring provinces of Nghe An and Ha Tinh, in north-central Vietnam, where poor job prospects, encouragement by authorities, smuggling gangs and environmental disaster all contribute to the wave of migrants.

As oxygen levels fell in the back of the truck, some tried desperately to escape, but in vain.

Others used mobile phones to say their last farewells to devastated relatives on the other side of the world.

One of the victims was Pham Thi Tra My[3], a 26-year-old woman whose heartbreaking final text message to her mother vividly brought home the scale of the tragedy.

A young woman with sunglasses on her head and a flower behind her ear.A young woman with sunglasses on her head and a flower behind her ear.
Pham Thi Tra My sent a message to her mother saying she couldn’t breathe, Human Rights Space reported.(

Twitter: Hoa Nghiem, Human Rights Space

)

Her family had been unable to contact her since the text arrived saying she was suffocating.

“I’m so sorry mom and dad … My journey abroad doesn’t succeed,” she wrote. “Mom, I love you and dad very much. I’m dying because I can’t breathe … Mom, I’m so sorry.”

Two men including the truck driver have already been convicted[4] over the deaths in the UK, as have four others in Vietnam[5]

Reuters

Lorry driver praised for parking under motorway bridge to stop man jumping off it

A lorry driver has been praised after parking beneath a motorway bridge[1] which it was feared a man would jump off.

A photograph shared on social media show a man sat on the edge of a bridge flanked by what appears to be two police officers.

Cheshire Police said it was called to a bridge over the M62[2] by Warrington[3] on Tuesday afternoon due to safety concerns.

Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds, a community interest company providing welfare services for those in need, shared a photograph of the incident on their Facebook page to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The non-profit organisation said it was sharing the image to show “it’s okay not be ok”.

The group, who also deliver food to the homeless, praised the lorry driver for taking action.

“What a trucker,” the post said. “Stopping on the hard shoulder and leaving his truck there – to ensure when he did jump it wasn’t a longer distance to the floor.”

It added: “What people don’t understand is that to jump on the other side of any bridge – indicates something drastically wrong with [their] mental health. But whats next?”

Social media users were united in praise for the lorry driver, with one user commenting: “Trucker is a good human and deserves the utmost respect.”

Another wrote: “God bless the trucker and I hope and pray the man who was suicidal gets the help he needs and deserves.”

Highways England confirmed to The Independent that the M62 was closed at Junction 9 by Warrington on Tuesday due to a police incident.

A Cheshire Police spokesperson told Sky News reports of safety concerns for a man on an M62 bridge by Warrington came through on Tuesday afternoon.

She said: “A full closure was put in place while officers and specialist negotiators attended to the scene to engage with the man who was brought to safety and handed into the care of paramedics.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email [email protected], or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

References

  1. ^ motorway bridge (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ M62 (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Warrington (www.independent.co.uk)

Hero lorry driver ‘saves man’s life’ by stopping under M62 bridge

A lorry driver has been hailed as a hero for reportedly stopping underneath a motorway bridge to stop a man from jumping.

A distressing image which emerged on Thursday, showed a man who had climbed over the railing of the M62 bridge and sat on the end, looking down towards the motorway.

When a lorry driver saw him, they parked their vehicle on the hard shoulder right beneath where the man was sitting, Leeds Live[1] reports.

The driver then left it there until the man was safely escorted off the bridge.

The image has been shared hundreds of times online, with many people praising the lorry driver for their quick thinking.

One person said: “Well done to that lorry driver. Hope the person on the bridge gets the help they need.”

Another added: “Trucker is a good human and deserves the utmost respect.”

A third said: “Fantastic lorry driver he needs a medal. Poor man, hope he gets the help he needs.”

Mental health and suicide support

Helplines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website[2]

  • Samaritans[3] (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected][4].
  • Childline[5] (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS[6] (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Mind[7] (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression[8] is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK[9] is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk[10] for more details.

  • Hub of Hope[11] is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk[12] or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: [email protected][13][14]
  • Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: [email protected][15][16]
  • The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: [email protected][17][18]

Vulnerable Citizen Support Leeds posted: “IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY.

“This is a picture from the M62 Motorway Bridge – a passerby has posted it to raise awareness of the situation at hand.

“What people don’t understand is that to jump on the other side of any bridge – indicates something drastically wrong with their mental health. But what’s next……..?

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here[19].

“I have family who have been at this point before and still had to wait a week for an appointment when she found herself on top of a bridge – this post is to raise that awareness that – IT’S OKAY – NOT TO BE OKAY – and you can or should speak out.

“What a trucker – stopping on the hard shoulder and leaving his truck there – to ensure when he did jump – it wasn’t a longer distance to the floor.”

References

  1. ^ Leeds Live (www.leeds-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk)
  3. ^ Samaritans (www.samaritans.org)
  4. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  5. ^ Childline (www.childline.org.uk)
  6. ^ PAPYRUS (www.papyrus-uk.org)
  7. ^ Mind (www.mind.org.uk)
  8. ^ Students Against Depression (studentsagainstdepression.org)
  9. ^ Bullying UK (www.bullying.co.uk)
  10. ^ www.amparo.org.uk (www.amparo.org.uk)
  11. ^ Hub of Hope (www.hubofhope.co.uk)
  12. ^ hubofhope.co.uk (www.hubofhope.co.uk)
  13. ^ Young Persons Advisory Service (www.ypas.org.uk)
  14. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  15. ^ Paul’s Place (beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk)
  16. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  17. ^ The Martin Gallier Project (www.gallierhouse.co.uk)
  18. ^ [email protected] (www.liverpoolecho.co.uk)
  19. ^ signing up here (communicatoremail.com)

Essex container deaths: Man arrested and charged in Italy in connection with migrant tragedy

A man has been arrested in Italy in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a lorry container in Essex.

Dragos Damian, 27, was detained near Milan by Italian authorities and the National Crime Agency on Thursday, Essex Police said.

He has been charged with conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

The action was taken under an international arrest warrant and Essex Police are awaiting details of the man’s court appearance.

The discovery of the bodies in Grays on 23 October 2019 was the UK’s worst migrant tragedy[1] in nearly two decades.

The victims[2] died when they ran out of air in temperatures of up to 38.5C (101F), as the trailer was shipped from Belgium to Purfleet docks.

Ten teenagers were among the victims.

More on Essex Lorry Deaths

The main members of the people smuggling gang involved were given long jail sentences[3] earlier this year

Haulier Ronan Hughes, 41, from Ireland, was a ringleader who supplied lorries and drivers over 18 months and was paid £3,000 for each migrant.

He admitted manslaughter and people smuggling and was jailed for 20 years.

The lorry’s driver, Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, also admitted manslaughter and people smuggling. He was jailed for 13 years and four months.

References

  1. ^ worst migrant tragedy (The%20discovery%20of%2039%20bodies%20in%20a%20lorry%20container%20in%20Essex%20last%20year%20was%20the%20UK’s%20worst%20migrant%20tragedy%20in%20nearly%20two%20decades.)
  2. ^ victims (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ given long jail sentences (news.sky.com)

Arrest in Italy over deaths of 39 people in south Essex

A MAN has been arrested in Italy in an ongoing probe into 39 deaths inside a lorry.

The international arrest warrant was carried out in Italy following the discovery of the mass grave in Grays on October 23, 2019.

The discovery of the Vietnamese migrants sent shockwaves across Essex and the rest of the world, and prompted a huge police investigation.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “An International Arrest warrant was executed in Italy on Thursday.

“A 27-year-old man was detained by Italian authorities and officers from the National Crime[1] Agency just outside Milan.

“The arrest is in relation to our ongoing investigation into the deaths of 39 people who were discovered in a lorry trailer in Grays in October 2019.

“The Crown Prosecution Service sought approval of the warrant on behalf of Essex Police.

“Courts then granted the warrant, and Dragos Damian was able to be arrested.

“He has been charged with conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

“We await details of a court appearance in Italy.”

The migrants died “excruciatingly painful” deaths, having suffocated in the container en route from Belgium to Purfleet in October 2019.

Ronan Hughes, 41, and Gheorghe Nica, 43, played “leading roles” in the smuggling conspiracy and were jailed for 20 and 27 years respectively in January this year.

Also jailed were two lorry drivers, Eamonn Harrison, 24, who towed the trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before their journey to the UK, was sentenced to 18 years.

Maurice Robinson, 26, was given 13 years and four months, having collected the trailer and opened it in an industrial estate to find the migrants dead.

Det Chief Insp Daniel Stoten said he “barely saw home” during the first few months of the investigation, and that police work into the smuggling of people into the UK would remain ongoing despite the initial sentencing.

The CPS said it was the largest manslaughter case it had ever prosecuted.

References

  1. ^ Crime (www.thurrockgazette.co.uk)