Essex

Essex lorry deaths: Vietnamese police arrest eight people

Pham Thi Tra My and Nguyen Dinh Luong
Image caption Pham Thi Tra My and Nguyen Dinh Luong's families are concerned they may be among the victims

Eight suspects have been held in Vietnam after 39 people were found dead in a lorry in Essex.

The arrests came as a team of Vietnamese officials arrived in Britain to help formally identify the 31 men and eight women.

The suspects are being held in relation to people smuggling offences, the director of police in the Nghe An province in north-central Vietnam said.

Two people were arrested in the Ha Tinh province of Vietnam last week.

The victims were discovered in a refrigerated lorry trailer on an industrial estate in Grays on 23 October.

On Friday, Essex Police said all 39 people were believed to be Vietnamese.

The force initially said it believed they were Chinese.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A service was held for the victims in east London on Saturday evening

Essex Police said it was now in "direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK" and the Vietnamese Government.

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

Post-mortem examinations are being carried out on the victims to establish the cause of their deaths.

More than 100 people attended a service for the victims at the Church of the Holy Name and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in east London on Saturday evening.

The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, from Northern Ireland, appeared in court last week charged with a string of offences, including 39 counts of manslaughter.

Extradition proceedings have also begun against 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison, who was arrested in Dublin on a European Arrest Warrant.

Police are also seeking two brothers from Northern Ireland, Ronan and Christopher Hughes, who are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and people trafficking.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The bodies were discovered in the lorry trailer in the early hours of 23 October

Do you have any information about the incident? Get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Or use the form below

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

The BBC's Privacy Policy

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites