Irish lorry driver, 23, who ‘drove the container filled with migrants to Zeebrugge’ appears in court

Irish lorry driver, 23, who ‘drove the container filled with migrants to Zeebrugge ahead of its doomed trip across the Channel’ appears in court in Dublin on unrelated charges

  • The 23-year-old was held at Dublin Port when he arrived on a ferry from France
  • Essex police say they are ‘liaising’ with their Irish counterparts over the case
  • The man was arrested and appeared in court over a road accident in Germany

A man suspected of driving the container filled with migrants to Zeebrugge ahead of its doomed trip across the Channel has appeared in court in Ireland on unrelated charges.

The 23-year-old was held at Dublin Port when he arrived on a ferry from France after his details were circulated by Belgian authorities. His blue Scania truck was impounded.

Essex police say they are ‘liaising’ with their Irish counterparts over the case.

The man was arrested and appeared in court over a road accident in Germany.

It came as a married couple from Cheshire and a man from Northern Ireland held last week were released on police bail. The man detained in Dublin is from Co Down in Northern Ireland and according to his social media posts drives his lorry all over Europe.

A van from the Border Force enters the Port of Tilbury, Essex, after the bodies of 39 people were found inside a lorry in nearby Grays on Wednesday

He is said to have been identified from CCTV showing the container believed to be carrying the migrants arriving at Zeebrugge at 2.49pm last Tuesday, hours before the tragic discovery in Essex, the Brussels public prosecutor said yesterday.

The man was remanded in custody by a court in Dublin on Saturday which dealt only with allegations of assault and criminal damage relating to the accident in Germany.

His solicitor said the man had planned to make himself available to Irish police to assist with an investigation in Northern Ireland. But Judge Anthony Halpin refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear in court again on Wednesday.

Following his arrest, Garda officers confirmed that Essex Police had ‘an interest’ in the man as part of their investigation.

In a statement, Essex Police – who did not name the man – said: ‘We are in liaison with the Garda in relation to an arrest they have made. 

At this point he is only being processed by the Garda in relation to unconnected offences to the Essex Police investigation.’

The man is registered as living with his parents in a large detached house close to the Irish border. Pictures on his Instagram profile show Scania cabs parked in front of the house, with one captioned: ‘The rare occasion I’m home.’ 

Over the weekend police investigating the tragedy said they were seeking ‘to establish whether or not there are wider conspiracies involved’.

Yesterday Joanna and Thomas Maher, both 38 and from Warrington, and a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland who had been arrested on suspicion of people trafficking and manslaughter were released on bail.

  • Truck driver Maurice Robinson, 25, from Co Armagh, is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court today charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

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