FAMILIES for some of the victims of the 39 deaths in Grays have been identified, Essex Police say.

In a lengthy update from Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith, he stated while police cannot yet publicly identify any of the victims found on October 23, they now believe they are Vietnamese Nationals.

Chief Constable Smith said: "Essex Police is continuing to work closely with HM Senior Coroner and the National Crime Agency to progress the investigation and help identify the victims.

"At this time, we believe the victims are Vietnamese nationals, and we are in contact with the Vietnamese Government.

"We are in direct contact with a number of families in Vietnam and the UK, and we believe we have identified families for some of the victims whose journey ended in tragedy on our shores.

"The confirmatory evidence needed to formally present cases to HM Senior Coroner for her consideration has not yet been obtained.

"This evidence is being gathered across a number of jurisdictions worldwide.

"As a result, we cannot at this time announce the identity of any of the victims.


"We will continue to co-operate closely with the Vietnamese Government, and others, to identify the victims and offer our support to all those affected by this tragedy.

"From the outset, our thoughts have been and remain with those who have lost loved ones in this tragic incident.

"I would like to continue to appeal to anyone who has information that may assist us in our process to identify the victims to please contact Essex Police.

"Details of how you can pass information can be found at mipp.police.uk where there are also details on how to contact us translated into Vietnamese.

"We have specially trained people, supported by Vietnamese interpreters, answering our dedicated hotline between 9am to midnight, seven days a week on 0800 056 0944 if you live in the UK and 0044 207 158 0010 if you’re dialling internationally.

"Please come forward and help us to provide answers to the 39 people’s families.”


Everything we know about the possible victims

Pham Tra My, 26, has not been in contact with her family since sending a final text message home on October 22 - the day before the lorry was found by police - saying she could not breathe.

Relatives of Ms Tra My told the BBC they have not been able to contact her since.

"I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed," she wrote.

"I am dying, I can't breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother."

Ms Tra My is reported to have paid about £30,000 to people smugglers to bring her into the UK illegally.

Bui Thi Nhung, 26, is also feared to be among the dead.

Her brother, Bui Thi Ding, told ITV News: "Nhung would have done any job she could over there. We are so poor here, we barely have enough food to eat, and our father has died. She wanted to go to England to help our elderly mother."

Her mother and sister set up an altar in their village of Yen Thanh in north-central Vietnam after a family friend in the UK told them she had died after paying thousands of pounds in the hope of finding work in a nail bar.

Nguyen Dinh Gia fears his 20-year-old son, Nguyen Dinh Luong, was among the victims. ITV News named Nguyen Dinh Tu, a 26-year-old whose father said he had hoped to get into Europe to work "in a nail bar" to help pay off family debts.

Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore said there were "very, very few" identity documents recovered and that police will share fingerprints with Vietnamese authorities in a bid to identify the bodies.


Second man in court

A second man has been charged with manslaughter in relation to the discovery of the bodies in Waterglade Industrial Park.

Eamon Harrison, 23, of Northern Ireland, faces 41 charges; 39 of manslaughter, and conspiracy to commit a human trafficking and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.

He appeared before High Court in Ireland on Friday and is set to be extradited to the UK.

Meanwhile, police in Vietnam have arrested two people in connection with the deaths.

Police in the province of Ha Tinh have reportedly launched an investigation into suspected human trafficking.

Maurice Robinson, 25, also of Northern Ireland, appeared in court this week and will next appear at the Old Bailey on November 25.

Two men still wanted

Detectives investigating the deaths in Grays have also confirmed they have spoken to Ronan Hughes, one of two Northern Irish brothers sought by Essex Police in connection with the deaths, on the phone and have urged the men to hand themselves in.


Ronan and Christopher Hughes

Det Ch Insp Stoten said officers had seized a lorry connected to the Hughes brothers on Thursday and appealed for information from the public on the pair’s whereabouts.

He said: “It is essential we follow all lines of inquiry and bring those responsible for these tragic events to justice.

“Ronan and Christopher Hughes are known to have links in Northern Ireland and Ireland as well as the road haulage and shipping industries.

“We urge anyone who has been in contact with them or has any information about where they are to get in contact with us.

“On Thursday, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, acting upon information, stopped a lorry believed to be connected to the Hughes brothers.

“The vehicle was subsequently seized and no further arrests were made.”

The pair are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking after the bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a refrigerated trailer attached to a lorry in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of Wednesday, October 23.

Ronan Hughes is understood to have identified himself to a custody officer after calling Essex Police shortly after lorry driver Maurice Robinson was arrested following the discovery.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) detective later called Hughes and had a conversation with him, it is understood.

Ronan Hughes, who also goes by the name Rowan, and brother Christopher were named by police in connection with the investigation earlier this week.