Essex lorry deaths: All 39 bodies identified and families told

Boris Johnson paid tribute to the victims last week

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The 39 people found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex have all been formally identified and their families told.

Essex Police said a series of files had been brought before an identification commission with the assistance of Vietnamese police.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray offered her "deepest condolences" to the families.

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, who is leading 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.

“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.”

He added: “Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores.”

The driver of the lorry, Mo Robinson, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, and Essex Police have also been working to extradite 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison from Ireland to the UK.

Two brothers from Northern Ireland are also wanted over the deaths, however police have been unable to arrest them and are urging them to hand themselves in.

Earlier this week Vietnamese police arrested eight people in connection with the deaths.

The victims were found in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex on October 23, and police first thought they were Chinese nationals.

They were later identified as Vietnamese, and Essex Police have been working closely with authorities in Vietnam.

A spokeswoman for Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the incident a "serious humanitarian tragedy".

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