All 39 migrants found dead in lorry container were Vietnamese, say police

1 November 2019, 20:38

The 39 migrants found in the back of the lorry were all Vietnamese, say police
The 39 migrants found in the back of the lorry were all Vietnamese, say police. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry in Grays are all believed to have been Vietnamese nationals, according to Essex Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith confirmed Essex Police were in contact with the Vietnamese government following the death of the migrants on 23 October.

A statement released by the officer in charge of the investigation said the police believed they had "identified families for some of the victims."

However, the identities cannot yet be released due to "confirmatory evidence," that is required by the coroner, has not yet been obtained due to the international scope of the investigation.

He urged anyone with information to come forward in order to help provide grieving families with answers.

The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter
The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter. Picture: Facebook

Last week the bodies of 39 migrants were found in a refrigeration container at around 1:40am at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays.

The driver of the lorry, 25-year-old Maurice Robinson, was charged with 39 counts of manslaughter

Earlier today a second man called Eamon Harrison, 22, from Northern Ireland, was charged with multiple counts of manslaughter in relation to the deaths.

Two people have also been arrested in Vietnam's Ha Tinh province after launching an investigation into suspected human trafficking.

The force said in a statement: "Essex Police is continuing to work closely with HM Senior Coroner and the National Crime Agency to progress the investigation and help identify the victims.

"At this time, we believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals, and we are in contact with the Vietnamese Government. We are in direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK, and we believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores.

Floral tributes left at the industrial estate
Floral tributes left at the industrial estate. Picture: PA

"The confirmatory evidence needed to formally present cases to HM Senior Coroner for her consideration has not yet been obtained. This evidence is being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide.

"As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims. We will continue to co-operate closely with the Vietnamese Government, and others, to identify the victims and offer our support to all those affected by this tragedy.

"From the outset, our thoughts have been and remain with those who have lost loved ones in this tragic incident. I would like to continue to appeal to anyone who has information that may assist us in our process to identify the victims to please contact Essex Police.

"Details of how you can pass information can be found at mipp.police.uk where there are also details on how to contact us translated in to Vietnamese.

"We have specially trained people, supported by Vietnamese interpreters, answering our dedicated hotline between 9am to midnight, seven days a week on 0800 056 0944 if you live in the UK and 0044 207 158 0010 if you’re dialling internationally.

"Please come forward and help us to provide answers to the 39 people’s families.”

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