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People smuggler ordered to pay compensation to families of 39 Vietnamese victims

THE STAR – A people smuggler has been ordered to pay GBP6,000 to the families of 39 Vietnamese people who were found dead in a trailer in Essex in south-eastern England.

The victims, aged 15 to 44, suffocated as they were transported by ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge to Purfleet in Essex in October 2019.

Lorry driver Christopher Kennedy, 25, was jailed at the Old Bailey for seven years for being part of the wider people smuggling operation.

On Wednesday, the court heard he had benefitted from his crime to the value of GBP67,050.65 but had just GBP6,094.18p in his Bank of Ireland account.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC ordered the confiscation of the money. He also said it should be paid as compensation to the families of the 39 victims. Kennedy, from Co Armagh in Northern Ireland, sat in the dock and made no reaction during the brief hearing.

The victims were discovered in a truck in an industrial zone in Grays, east of London. PHOTO: AFP

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