Essex lorry deaths: Police make fifth arrest in connection with investigation

Man, believed to be aged 23 and from Northern Ireland, detained at Dublin Port

Peter Stubley
Saturday 26 October 2019 16:39 BST
Essex lorry deaths truck moved as investigation continues

A fifth person has been arrested in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 39 people found in a lorry in Essex.

The man, who is aged in his early 20s and from Northern Ireland, was detained by Garda officers after he got of a ferry at Dublin Port on Saturday afternoon.

Officers also impounded a blue Scania truck he was driving, according to reports.

Gardai said in a statement that Essex Police had “an interest in this male as part of this investigation”.

“Earlier today 26 October 2019 at Dublin Port An Garda Siochana arrested a male in his early 20s from Northern Ireland on foot of an outstanding court order for an offence in this jurisdiction,” the force added.

“This male will appear before Criminal Courts of Justice, Court 2, at 4.30pm today Saturday 26 October 2019.”

Four other people have been arrested over the deaths of eight women and 31 men found in the refrigerated trailer in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of Wednesday.

The driver of the trailer, Mo Robinson, 25, from Northern Ireland, remains in custody after being arrested suspicion of murder following the discovery of the bodies.

A couple were arrested overnight in Cheshire on Thursday and a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was detained at Stansted Airport on Friday, all on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking.

In Belgium, police are hunting the driver who delivered the trailer to Zeebrugge, the port it left before arriving in the UK.

Detectives had initially believed all those found in the trailer were Chinese but are now investigating reports that several were from one rural community in Vietnam.

It emerged on Friday that a missing Vietnamese woman, Pham Thi Tra My, 26, had texted her mother to say “I can’t breathe” at the time the lorry was being shipped from Belgium to the UK.

Essex Police are attempting to identify the victims through fingerprints, DNA and other distinguishing features after finding “very, very few” documents with the bodies.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore​ appealed for witnesses to come forward even if they were in the UK illegally.

“It may well be that there are people watching this tonight that are thinking ‘I want to come forward, I want to obviously try and identify my loved ones and be reunited’, but they are frightened to come forward,” he added.

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