Maurice Robinson, who is accused of being part of an international people-smuggling ring, admitted plotting with others to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

FILE - Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook, shows lorry driver Maurice Robinson on a video-link at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, England.
FILE - Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook, shows lorry driver Maurice Robinson on a video-link at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court, England. (AP)

A truck driver charged with manslaughter over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in the back of a truck pleaded guilty on Monday to lesser charges.

Maurice Robinson, who is accused of being part of an international people-smuggling ring, admitted plotting with others to assist illegal immigration and acquiring criminal property.

Robinson, 25, appeared at London’s Central Criminal Court by video link from prison. 

He wasn’t asked to enter pleas to 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people, and he faces another court hearing on December 13.

The bodies of 29 people were found on October 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. 

Police say the victims were all from Vietnam and aged between 15 to 44.

The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers for their clandestine transit into England.

Two other men have been arrested in Britain and Ireland in connection with the case.

Source: AP