Eight of the 39 people found dead in a lorry trailer in Grays, Essex on Wednesday, are women, 31 are men and all are believed to be Chinese nationals Essex Police said.
The 39 people found dead in a refrigerated trailer in Essex were Chinese nationals, it is understood. Police are continuing to question lorry driver Mo Robinson, 25, who was arrested on suspicion of murder. Officers in Northern Ireland have raided two houses and the National Crime Agency said it was working to identify “organised crime […]
The vehicle is believed to have come from Bulgaria and entered the UK at Holyhead in north Wales on Saturday.
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said: “This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened.
“We are in the process of identifying the victims, however I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.
“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria and entered the country at Holyhead on Saturday 19 October and we are working closely with our partners to investigate. We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue.
Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch with them, and have put a cordon in place and access to and from the industrial park is closed.
Mr Mariner added: “I appreciate this cordon is going to disrupt the activity of local businesses in the area and we will work to ensure that disruption is kept as short as possible. We are working with Thurrock Council to mitigate against any impact our investigation scene will have locally.”
The journey from Bulgaria to the UK via Holyhead has been described as an “unorthodox route” and it is thought the lorry would have come in from Dublin.
Seamus Leheny, Northern Ireland policy manager for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “There is a direct route to Holyhead from Dublin.
“If the lorry came from Bulgaria, getting into Britain via Holyhead is an unorthodox route. “People have been saying that security and checks have been increased at places like Dover and Calais, so it might be seen as an easier way to get in by going from Cherbourg or Roscoff, over to Rosslare, then up the road to Dublin.
“It’s a long way around and it’ll add an extra day to the journey.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “I’m appalled by this tragic incident in Essex. I am receiving regular updates from the Home Office & will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened.
“My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives & their loved ones.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “shocked and saddened” by the news. Ms Patel is MP for Witham, which is in Essex.
She tweeted: “Shocked & saddened by this utterly tragic incident in Grays. Essex Police has arrested an individual and we must give them the space to conduct their investigations.”
In a further statement, the home secretary said police were working with Home Office immigration officials “to establish how this horrific event came to happen”.
Ms Patel will also issue a statement in the Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions.