Essex lorry deaths: All 39 victims have officially been identified

Clay Curtis
November 8, 2019

The 39 Vietnamese people found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex have all been formally identified.

Essex Police Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, the senior officer in charge of the investigation, said: 'This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese Police colleagues to support the families of those victims.

He added "it is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information".

The PM asked the foreign ministry to perform due citizen protection measures and thanked United Kingdom authorities for their investigation into the incident.

Police said Thursday the victims have been identified as Vietnamese nationals.

The driver of the lorry, a 25-year-old man who was arrested was charged with 39 offences of manslaughter, money laundering, human trafficking and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

The investigation is ongoing.

Investigators have also urged two men from Armagh - Ronan Hughes (40) and his brother Christopher (34) - to hand themselves in to police.

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Vietnam sent a delegation of officials to the United Kingdom earlier this week to assist with the investigation.

They are also in the process of extraditing another suspect from Ireland and searching for others potentially involved.

In a statement made last week, a spokesperson for Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked British authorities for their work and called for an end to human trafficking.

The arrests follow the Vietnamese government's strong condemnation of human trafficking.

Some families accept to receive the ashes after cremation while others want to have the bodies for traditional funeral procedures, Xo said.

The bodies were found in the early hours of October 23 inside the refrigerated section of the truck, which had just entered Britain on a ferry from Belgium and parked up near the port of Purfleet in Essex. Vietnam calls on countries in the region and the world to continue strengthening cooperation to prevent and crack down on this type of crime, prevent similar occurrences, and early conclude investigation to punish offenders.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's Newsdesk.

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