23 October 2019, 1.37am – Maurice Robinson, a lorry driver from Northern Ireland, calls 999 from an Essex industrial park. Clearly distressed, he says there are a large number of bodies in the back of his trailer. Eight minutes later, police arrive on the scene. 39 Vietnamese migrants are discovered, dead, in the back of his lorry.
This new film, directed by Niamh Kennedy, tells the story of one of the biggest manslaughter inquiries the UK has ever seen. Spanning Britain, Europe and Vietnam, it cracked open a multi-million pound people smuggling ring, operating from Northern Ireland, and responsible for the illegal movement of migrants into Britain on an industrial scale.
With exclusive access to Essex Police, their officers and the evidence, the film will take viewers to the heart of the investigation and shed new light on the hidden world of people smuggling. The film will also explore the stories of the 39 men, women and teenagers who lost their lives, looking at the complex economic reasons which compel people to put their lives into the hands of smugglers, as well as the tragic impact on their family and friends.