(LONDON) Old Bailey Court Report: A lorry driver accused of transporting 39 ‘ Vietnamese Migrants ‘to Essex in October 2019 to their deaths has told jurors he was “naive and gullible” and denies the manslaughter & smuggling charges #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.20: Eamonn Harrison, 23, allegedly successfully dropped off two loads of people at Zeebrugge in Belgium before the Vietnamese nationals died in his trailer en route to Purfleet in Essex on 22 October last year…………..Giving evidence at the Old Bailey in London, Mr Harrison, of Co Down, Northern Ireland, denied people smuggling…………….He said he only agreed to load stolen lorry parts for his boss Ronan Hughes because he owed him after drunkenly writing off one of his trucks……………Mr Harrison has claimed that a Romanian he knew as Alex, aka Petrisor Zgarcea, was Hughes’ “man on the continent” and he went for a walk when people were loaded on his trailer without his knowledge on two occasions:

Man accused of transporting 39-Vietnamese migrants to their deaths tells court he was ‘gullible & naive ‘ saying he did it because he owed his boss a favour as case continues RTE.ie/

Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones told Mr Harrison: “You have dreamt up stolen lorry parts because on this night a load of illegal immigrants were smuggled in your trailer.”…………Mr Harrison replied that it was “without my knowledge”. The prosecutor said: “That load when it got to the UK was rejected because of human contamination.”…………He asked what Mr Harrison had talked about in a seven minute and 36 second call with Ronan Hughes on 18 October………….The accused replied: “I cannot remember exactly. I know he did tell me the load had been rejected and the trailer was coming back to me.”

Mr Emlyn Jones went on: “You can imagine what was on his mind at that time: “What you have got to talk about is the fact the load he has spent all morning sorting out… was all trodden down and all the biscuits were broken and crushed…………..”He does not know the load has been rejected because the load hasn’t got to Sittingbourne………..”I suggest here are two people engaged in people smuggling talking about their people smuggling.”

Mr Harrison denied this, telling jurors: “I was naive and gullible: “I was to work off the debt with reduction in wage. It would have taken me a year. I did not know I was involved in people smuggling.”

Turning to the fatal trip on 22 October, Mr Emlyn Jones asserted: “It was a double load of 39 migrants and you have loaded them in two stages.” The defendant denied it: Jurors were shown video footage of Eamonn Harrison walking around the pick-up point near Bierne in northern France that morning: Mr Emlyn Jones suggested that Mr Harrison had concocted a lie, about being told to go for a walk while migrants were being loaded, from viewing the video:

The prosecutor said: “You have built a lie…….”Your excuse for not knowing what’s happening on the 10th and 17th was you were told to take a walk – a master stroke of subterfuge: “Hughes tells you to take a walk, you can turn a blind eye to what’s going on in your trailer. It’s based on this clip. You fake a defence around that evidence.”…….The defendant has told jurors he initially lied about what happened out of “fear” but decided to tell the truth later:

Mr Harrison has denied the manslaughter of 39 migrants and being involved in a wider people-smuggling operation: Jurors have heard that Ronan Hughes, 41, of Co Armagh, Northern Ireland, has admitted his involvement in the tragedy:

#AceNewsDesk report ……………..Published: Nov.20: 2020:

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