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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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All 39 victims from the Essex lorry tragedy have now been identified

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

Candles laid out as part of the ceremony for the mass prayer and vigil for the 39 victims.
Candles laid out as part of the ceremony for the mass prayer and vigil for the 39 victims.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Images

ALL 39 PEOPLE found dead in the back of a lorry in Essex last month have now been formally identified, police has said.

Essex Police said 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.

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.

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 Ireland to the UK.

Harrison, of Newry in Co Down, Northern Ireland, 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 28 October 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.

It comes as cars and cash have been seized near the Irish border as part of a major investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau into suspected international smuggling.

It is understood that a number of the searches were linked to the Hughes brothers but it was not directly related to Essex Police’s investigation.

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

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