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More deaths involving migrants being smuggled in lorry trailers will happen, the president of the Irish RHA has warned.

Eugene Drennan was speaking after four men were found guilty at the Old Bailey of their involvement in a people smuggling ring, which contributed to the deaths of 39 Vietnamese men, women and children in October last year.

The discovery of the migrants unresponsive in the trailer of a lorry by its driver, Maurice Robinson, in Grays, Essex was made in the early hours of 23 October 2019.

It sparked the largest investigation in Essex Police’s history and unravelled a network of organised criminals, which had operated in the UK and overseas.

Robinson pleaded guilty to offences against him, along with transport fixer Ronan Hughes, and drivers Alexandru-Ovidiu Hanga and Gazmir Nuzi.

Following the trial, Eamonn Harrison from Mayobridge in Northern Ireland, was found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter and guilty of one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and Gheorghe Nica was found guilty of the same charges.

Christopher Kennedy from County Armagh, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to facilitate the commission of a breach of UK immigration law.

Valentin Calota was found guilty of the same charge.

Drennan said the people that put the 39 victims on the trailer did not care if it was a curtainsider, a box trailer or if it was a sealed refrigerated unit: “I would welcome the convictions and I would congratulate any of the police who worked on the case and any other people from other agencies that worked on this case because it cannot be easy to piece together,” he said.

“It is every haulier’s and every driver’s – proper legitimate drivers – worst nightmare finding migrants on board their cargo.”

Drennan added: “We’re only lucky that we don’t have other people killed already.

“That is still waiting to happen. It’s still being done.”