Northern Ireland news

Police confirm children among 39 people found dead in Essex lorry container

The bodies of 39 Vietnamese migrants were found in the back of a refrigerated lorry at an industrial estate in Essex. Picture by Stefan Rousseau, Press Association

Police have released the names of all 39 Vietnamese nationals who were found dead in a lorry in Essex last month, with the victims including two 15-year-old boys. 

The two children were named as Dinh Dinh Binh from Hai Phong and Nguyen Huy Hung from Ha Tinh.

Also among the victims was 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My who sent a final text message home saying she could not breathe.

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

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray has now formally identified all of the victims and their families have been notified.

Mrs Beasley Murray said: "May I take this opportunity to offer my deepest condolences to the victims' families."

All of the deceased were Vietnamese nationals, a spokesman for Essex Police said.

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.

Read More: Armagh brothers wanted over Essex deaths still cannot be arrested in Republic 

"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.

"Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores."

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

Police in the country have so far has arrested two people in Ha Tinh province and nine in Nghe An province on suspicion of organising people smuggling.

So far, two people have been charged in the UK.

Essex Police have started extradition proceedings to bring 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison from the Republic to the UK.

Harrison, of Newry in Co Down, appeared at Dublin High Court on Friday charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, along with human trafficking and immigration offences, and was remanded in custody.

The driver of the lorry, Mo Robinson (25) appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on October 28 charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

Detectives have also urged Ronan Hughes (40) and his brother Christopher (34) said to have links with the road haulage and shipping industries, to hand themselves in.

The pair, from Armagh, are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.

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