AFTER Tran Duy Hai was held at knifepoint for hours and forced to bag up cannabis by a gang that raided the cannabis factory he worked at, he seized his chance to escape. The 37-year-old Vietnamese immigrant scrambled through a skylight out into the dark, icy night but fell 60ft to his death. An inquest this week heard that police could not determine if the cannabis farmer slipped or if he was pushed to his death. Tran was found hours by police, with a broken neck and back, at Unit 18 of the Redhills Industrial Estate in South Woodham Ferrers. A murder investigation is continuing into his death. At an inquest at New Bridge House last week, senior investigating officer of the case, DCI Mark Hall said: “We know that between 3.46am on December 9, 2010 and 12.04pm Tran fell to his death. “He was found dressed in very light clothing, a T-shirt and no shoes when it was particularly icy and cold outside, which shows us that he had been living inside the factory.” Police were alerted by an anonymous caller to bags of cannabis sitting outside the factory and later ascertained that a gang of men had forced their way into the factory and made off with a substantial amount of the £2.4m worth of plants inside.. It is unknown whether Tran fell after slipping on the icy roof or whether he was pushed onto the thin plastic sheeting that covered holes aimed to provide natural lighting for the cannabis plants inside.
Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded an open verdict into Tran’s death. “We are determined to find the other two men who were working in the factory and may be able to help us find out exactly what happened that night,” said DCI Hall. “Our investigations are continuing in regards to Tran Duy Hai’s death.” Tran had left his wife behind in Vietnam in 2008, spending $13,000 (£8,200) on a visa taking him to the Czech Republic.From there had come to England, seeking to repay the debts his visa had incurred. He was living in a special dormitory in South Woodham Ferrers with three other men cultivating cannabis for bosses who have not yet been found by police. DCI Hall said: “Tran had been on the phone to his sister at 3.26am when he told her that someone was coming and that he had to go. It was his sister-in-law that later provided police with information leading to identification of his body, after a media appeal alerted her in Vietnam.” Khai Nguyen, another of the men living and working at the factory, told Chelmsford Crown Court in March that the gang raiding the factory had threatened the residents with weapons and made them cut and bag the cannabis. Nguyen was sentenced to three years imprisonment for his involvement in the production of cannabis. Eight people have since been jailed in connection with the break-in for burglary and drugs offences.
via : This Is Total Essex
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