THE Essex lorry driver accused over the deaths of 39 migrants has pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration at the Old Bailey this morning.
Maurice 'Mo' Robinson, 25, was charged with manslaughter after a group men, women and children found dead in a refrigerated trailer last month.
The bodies of eight females and 31 males were found in the trailer attached to his Scania cab in an industrial park in Grays, Essex in the early hours of October 23.
The victims were later identified as Vietnamese and the youngest were two boys aged 15.
Robinson also faces 39 counts of manslaughter.
The defendant, of Craigavon in Northern Ireland, appeared via video link from Belmarsh prison for a plea hearing before Mr Justice Edis at the Old Bailey.
Wearing a light blue sweater and tan trousers, Robinson spoke to confirm his identity and British nationality.
Robinson admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between May, 1 2018 and October 24.
The charge states that he plotted with others to do "an act or series of acts which facilitated the commission of a breach of immigration law by various persons".
He also admitted acquiring criminal property – namely cash – on the same dates.
Bill Emlyn Jones, prosecuting, said: "My understanding is that the defendant is ready to be arraigned on two of the 43 counts on the indictment.
"The Crown at this stage would not push further arraignment on the other counts. This investigation is likely to span different jurisdictions."
Mr Justice Edis said: "This is quite a significant investigation likely to involve investigations into other people."
Tyrone Smith, defending Robinson, said: "The defendant made significant admissions in interview," in relation to the counts he admitted.
Robinson has been remanded in custody ahead of another hearing at the Old Bailey on December 13.
A trial date has not been set.
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