Unsolved Murders

Tran Duy Hai

Age: 37

Sex: male

Date: 9 Dec 2010

Place: Redhills Industrial Estate, Redhills Road, South Woodham Ferrers, Essex

Tran Duy Hai died after falling sixty feet through the roof of a converted industrial unit that was being used as a cannabis factory in Redhills Road, South Woodham Ferrers, after it was robbed.

An open verdict was returned at his inquest in May 2012.

His post mortem showed that he had died from head and spinal injuries.

Tran Hai had been one of four people that had been managing the cannabis farm and tending the plants, living in makeshift accommodation there. The building was described as 'heavily fortified'.

Eight people were later convicted and jailed in relation to the break-in and other drugs offences but because no one knew exactly how Tran Hai came to fall through the roof, the open verdict was returned. However, following his death, the police stated in January 2011 that they were treating his death as murder.

It was said that he had been held at knifepoint for several hours by the gang of burglars and forced to put the cannabis plants into bags.

He was from Vietnam and had arrived in the United Kingdom illegally via the Czech Republic in 2008, leaving his wife in Vietnam. He then started working at the cannabis factory to pay off a family debt, £8,200, that he had incurred in getting his visa.

It was heard that he had been at the cannabis factory in the early morning of 9 December 2010 talking to his sister-in-law on his phone when burglars entered the building. His sister-in-law said that he told her, 'someone is coming, I've got to go'.

His body was found later that day at about noon when the police went to investigate a break-in after they received an anonymous call stating that bags of cannabis had been found lying outside the industrial unit. When they got to the factory, they found Tran Hai lying dead beneath a skylight that he had fallen through and more than 6,000 cannabis plants worth about £2.4m.

Following his death, the police found two vehicles near Romford that they believed had been involved in the burglary and later traced the men who were convicted in relation to the burglary.

His identity was not determined for several weeks until his fingerprints were matched with fingerprint records in Vietnam.

The police said that they determined that the burglars had entered through one skylight and had then left through another. It was thought that Tran Hai had been either pursuing the burglars or fleeing from them when he fell through a third skylight. However, there were no witnesses and there was not enough evidence to say.

His inquest heard that there had been other people present at the cannabis factory when he had died, but they had fled and it was not known who they were. It was added that they might have known more about the circumstances that led to Tran Hai's death and the Coroner appealed for them to come forward, saying, 'There are other persons who we believe were present when he died who may well hold the key to exactly how he died. I would urge those to come forward and speak to us'.

In Vietnam Tran Hai had been a farmer and had two children.

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