Suspect in migrant truck deaths can fight extradition to UK

LONDON (AP) — A truck driver wanted over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in a refrigerated container near London won a delay Wednesday to his extradition from Ireland to the U.K.

At Dublin’s High Court, Judge Donald Binchy ruled that 23-year-old Eamonn Harrison can appeal against an order that he be sent to Britain to face charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

The bodies of 39 people were found Oct. 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. Police say the victims were all from Vietnam and were between the ages of 15 and 44. The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers for their clandestine transit into England. Police say they died of a combination of a lack of oxygen and overheating in an enclosed space.

Harrison and another Northern Ireland man, Maurice Robinson, have been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter. Prosecutors allege that Harrison drove the container to the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, where it was put on a ferry to England and picked up at the other end by Robinson.

Another man, Gheorghe Nica, of Basildon in eastern England, has also been charged with manslaughter and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

A fourth man, who is 22, was arrested in Northern Ireland on Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration. He remains in police custody in southeast England but hasn’t been charged or named yet.