A court has heard that the bodies of 39 migrants killed in an Essex lorry trailer were so close that the first policeman at the scene could not examine them all for signs of life, a court heard.
PC Jack Emerson told Old Bailey how he and his co-workers were sent to an industrial park after the lorry driver made an emergency call. Maurice Robinson.
Old Bailey heard that Robinson, 26, picked up the transfer from Zeeberg, Belgium, from Puroflit Docks.
The court was shown CCTV of identified police vehicles arriving in East Thawrak, where PC Emerson described Robinson’s lorry standing in the rear trailer door with the door open.
“I saw countless half-naked bodies lying on the groundless floor,” he described.
“It turned out that the whole trailer was full of bodies all present in a semi-naked state, the lower part of them was dressed. All the bodies were intact.”
When police arrived at the scene at about 1:30 p.m., Robinson was “just standing there” and calm, according to PC Emerson.
The trial for the deaths of Vietnamese immigrants in October last year, who were found behind the trailer of a lorry in Grace, Essex, in October last year.
PC Emerson said the corpses, which appeared Asian, did not appear to be that long and he found no signs of decomposition.
“But there was a strange smell coming from the trailer that smelled like a chemical,” he said. “Smoke was also coming from the back of the trailer which suggested to me that the trailer had been frozen.”
PC Emerson and his colleagues checked the signs of life, pulses and chest movements and gave the trailer but they found nothing.
“It was not possible to examine all the bodies. They were very closely involved, most of them lying on their backs,” he told the court, adding that some of them were “grass-roots” and some were warm.
The court heard that later in the morning, another lorry driver, Christopher Kennedy, who was driving to try the death, contacted and exchanged texts about the incident.
The friend asked: “Who is the BG Joel in Essex with the corpses?”
Kennedy Hawlaj’s boss named Ronan Hughes as “a bit of a mess”.
Asked what happened, he replied: “Danno must have been 2 intelligent and out of the air (shed).”
The friend wrote: “End the road for him and drive.”
Kennedy added: “He never sees the light of day again.”
Earlier, the court was told how the immigrants were isolated from the world as soon as the trailer doors closed. Several of them repeatedly tried to make phone calls, one of which failed and the Vietnamese police dialed an emergency number to fight for breath.
Juniors heard that Vietnamese nationals aged 15 to 44 were pronounced dead at 4:50 a.m. on October 23.
Robinson and Hughes, 41, murdered immigrants.
Libby driver Emon Harrison, 23, who dropped the trailer at Zeeberg, has denied 39 counts of genocide with 43-year-old Nick.
Harrison, Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Colota, 3, have denied being part of a wider man-smuggling conspiracy, which Nika admits.