Essex lorry deaths: Man ordered to pay ??3k to families

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image captionThe 39 people who died in the back of a trailer as it crossed the North Sea between Zeebrugge and the UK

A man linked to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex is to pay ??3,000 in compensation to their families.

The migrants suffocated in the sealed container en route from Zeebrugge to Purfleet in October 2019.

Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga, 29, of Hobart Road in Essex, admitted conspiring to assist unlawful immigration in 2020 and was sentenced to three years in jail.

He was ordered to pay the money at a confiscation hearing at the Old Bailey.

The migrants, aged 15 to 44, were sealed inside the container for at least 12 hours, before suffering "excruciatingly painful" deaths.

image source, PA Media
image captionThe bodies of 39 Vietnamese nationals were discovered in a refrigerated trailer on 23 October 2019

The court heard the Romanian national had benefitted from his "criminal lifestyle" to the sum of ??83,552.

But prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said just ??3,000 was now available, as he applied for the money to be confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The funds will be used to compensate the victims' families for funeral expenses and bereavement.

Hanga collected a number of migrants from a drop-off point in Essex and drove them to a safe house in Dulwich, south-east London, a few weeks before the tragedy.

In his sentencing, Mr Justice Sweeney had noted Hanga had shown "genuine remorse" and only got involved because he felt "beholden" to boss Gheorghe Nica, who was "not the sort of person to say 'no' to".

Dates have been set for further compensation orders on other defendants for later in the year.

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