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Lorry container deaths investigation: What we know so far

The 39 victims included a teenager.

Police activity at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Police activity at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Tom Pilgrim, PA

Police are investigating the deaths of 39 people found inside a lorry in Essex.

Here is what we know so far:

– Essex Police received reports of a number of people discovered inside a lorry container at 1.40am on Wednesday.

– The lorry was found at Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays, Thurrock, in Essex.

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Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills (Victoria Jones/PA)

– Ambulance staff found all 39 victims, including a teenager, dead inside the container.

– A murder investigation was launched and the lorry driver, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, was arrested on suspicion of murder and is in police custody.

– The lorry driver has been named in reports as Mo Robinson from Portadown in Co Armagh.

– Police have yet to identify the lorry victims or where they are from, saying that this could be a “lengthy process”.

– The lorry trailer is believed to have travelled from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, Essex, and docked in the Thurrock area shortly after 12:30am on Wednesday.

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Holyhead (Peter Byrne/PA)

– A freight ferry service runs from Zeebrugge to Purfleet.

– The tractor unit front section of the lorry is believed to have originated in Northern Ireland.

– Police believe the tractor unit and trailer left the port in Thurrock shortly after 1.05am.

– It was originally thought that the lorry entered the country through Holyhead in north Wales on Saturday.

– The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Scania lorry was registered in Varna, a city on the east coast of the country, under the name of a company owned by an Irish citizen.

– The ministry added that police said it is “highly unlikely” the victims are Bulgarians.

– A road haulage expert said the lorry container appeared to be a refrigerated unit, with temperatures inside able to drop as low as -25C.

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The container lorry where 39 people were found dead inside leaves Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, heading towards Tilbury Docks under police escort (Aaron Chown/PA)

– A cordon was erected at the industrial site in Grays while police conducted their investigations.

– A casualty bureau was also set up by police for people to call if they are concerned about relatives who may be involved in the incident.

– The lorry was later moved under police escort from the industrial park to a secure location at Tilbury Docks.

– Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “appalled” by the incident and said the perpetrators of the crime “should be hunted down and brought to justice”.

– Officers from the Essex Police, the National Crime Agency and Immigration Enforcement are all working on the case.

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Members of the Chinese Civil Rights Action Group, holding images of the 58 Chinese illegal immigrants, commemorate the 54 men and four women who suffocated while concealed in a lorry passing through Dover (Fiona Hanson/PA)

– The Police Service of Northern Ireland said it was supporting the Essex Police investigation, while the Irish police, An Garda Siochana, said they would “provide every assistance possible”.

– The incident is not the worst of its kind in the UK. The bodies of 58 Chinese people were found in a container at Dover, Kent, in 2000.

PA

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