The 39 dead bodies found in the back of a lorry in Essex were all Vietnamese, police confirmed on November 8. The Essex police said that the families of the victims have also been informed. The Vietnamese police have reportedly arrested eight people in relation to the case of frozen bodies found in the lorry in Essex on October 25. The senior officer in charge of the investigation, Tim Smith also said that it is an important step in the inquiry which enables both the UK police and the Vietnamese police to work together and support the families of the victims. The police authorities had said earlier this week that the victims might be Vietnamese after presuming that they were Chinese.
The 22-year-old suspect Eamonn Harrison faces 41 charges, including 39 manslaughter charges, conspiracy to commit human trafficking and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, after the endorsement of a European arrest warrant. He appeared at the court in Dublin on November 1. DS Jim Kirwan of the garda’s extradition unit told the court that he is the suspect of delivering the trailer to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge before its onward journey to England as CCTV footage from a truck stop in Veurne, Belgium, showed him to be the driver of the lorry that later deposited the trailer. Harrison was arrested at Dublin last week and is to face an extradition hearing later this month.
Harrison is the second to be arrested on similar charges after Maurice “Mo” Robinson, 25, another Northern Ireland hauler who collected the trailer from Purfleet in Essex. The arrests in the UK followed two more arrests in Vietnam on Friday on suspicion of involvement in the deaths. Many were summoned by the Police in Vietnam for an investigation into human trafficking. The UK police have also started looking for two brothers Ronan Hughes, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh in Northern Ireland believed to be connected with the deaths.
The lorry was found parked in Waterglade Industrial Park in southeast England. Police have launched a multiple-murder investigation and have arrested the 25-year-old lorry driver. All the 39 people, including a teenager, were declared dead at the scene, reported British media. The police, who are now working on the identification of the bodies, stated that it will be a “lengthy process given the scale of the crime". According to media reports, the lorry was registered in Bulgaria and it had entered the county through Holyhead, Wales on October 19. Police have thrown a security cordon at the Waterglade Industrial Park. Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said the security will affect local businesses in the area but that they will try to ensure the disruption is kept short.