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On Wednesday, October 23, Essex Police discovered a transport truck containing the dead bodies of 39 people believed to be from Bulgaria. 38 have been identified as adults, while one was a teen. All 39 were pronounced dead on site.
According to police, one 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, the driver of the vehicle, has been arrested and remains in custody on suspicion of murder.
“We believe the lorry is from Bulgaria and entered the country at Holyhead on Saturday 19 October and we are working closely with our partners to investigate,” says Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills in a press release.
“We have arrested the lorry driver in connection with the incident who remains in police custody as our enquiries continue. I appreciate this cordon is going to disrupt the activity of local businesses in the area and we will work to ensure that disruption is kept as short as possible. We are working with Thurrock Council to mitigate against any impact our investigation scene will have locally.”
Police say they were alerted to the existence of the truck shortly before 1.40 am Wednesday morning. They received reports that a number of people had been found inside a lorry’s container at the Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays.
A full murder investigation into the tragedy and role the driver played is now underway. Police say that they have so far been unable to identify any of the victims and anticipate that it will be a lengthy process.
The circumstances surrounding the truck and the transport of so many people remain unknown to the public.
“This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened,” says Mills.
“We are in the process of identifying the victims, however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process.”