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Essex deaths: Police hunt Northern Ireland brothers Ronan and Christopher Hughes in connection with lorry tragedy

Undated handout photo issued by Essex Police of Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh. Photo credit: Essex Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Essex Police of Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh. Photo credit: Essex Police/PA Wire

Police have released the details of two men they want to speak to in relation to the deaths of 39 people found in a lorry in Grays, Essex.

Ronan Hughes, 40, from Armagh in Northern Ireland, and his brother Christopher, 34, also from Armagh, are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking, Essex Police said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper, who is leading the investigation, said: "Finding and speaking to the Hughes brothers is crucial to our investigation.

"At this time we believe they are in Northern Ireland but they also have links to the Irish Republic.

"If you know where they are or have any information about their whereabouts I need you to call my team.

“This is a case where 39 men and women have tragically died and support from the community is going to be vital to help bring those responsible to justice."

Local independent unionist councillor Paul Berry appealed for local people to work with police to help track down the Hughes brothers.

"It is vital that everyone co-operates with the Essex Police and try to bring everyone involved before the Courts for these dreadful deaths of the 39 people ," he said.

"It was more than one person involved in this operation and I've every confidence in the Police in their efforts to track anyone involved down."

Armagh man Maurice 'Mo' Robinson appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court via video-link on Monday charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.

Maurice Robinson is charged with the killings
Maurice Robinson is charged with the killings

The court heard he was part of a "global ring" involved in smuggling people into the UK.

He will next appear at the Old Bailey on November 25 for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Three people arrested in connection with the case were released on bail on Sunday.

A 46-year-old man from Northern Ireland arrested at Stansted Airport on Friday was released alongside a couple, both aged 38 and originally from the Republic of Ireland.

On Saturday morning Gardai arrested a 23-year-old Down man at Dublin Port.

Essex Police have confirmed he is a "person of interest" in their investigation.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

"We are liaising with the Garda via telephone as this man is currently held outside the jurisdiction of the law of England and Wales," a spokesperson said.

The man, from Mayobridge, Co Down appeared at Dublin District Court on Saturday on unrelated assault and criminal damage charges.

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