Police given extra time to question lorry driver

A 25 year-old Northern Ireland man arrested on suspicion of murder after the bodies of 39 Chinese men and women were discovered in a lorry container remains in police custody.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 1:15 pm
British Police officers in a forsensic suits are photographed at the scene with a lorry, believed to have originated from Bulgaria, and found to be containing 39 dead bodies, as they work inside a police cordon at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019. - British police said 39 bodies were found near London Wednesday in the container of a truck thought to have come from Bulgaria. Essex Police said the people were all pronounced dead at the scene in an industrial park in Grays, east of London. Early indications suggest the victims are 38 adults and one teenager. A 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Detectives investigating the murder of 39 people in Grays have secured a warrant of further detention from local magistrates at Basildon for a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland.

“The man, a lorry driver, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and will now remain in custody for up to an additional 24 hours,” said Essex Police.

Essex Police confirmed the tractor unit entered the UK via Holyhead after travelling on board a ferry from Dublin on Sunday October 20.

The lorry then collected the trailer, which had travelled from Zeebrugge in Belgium, at the port of Purfleet at around 12:30am on October 23.

The tractor unit and trailer left the port shortly after 1.05am.

The container and the 39 dead people were first reported to police by the East of England Ambulance Service at 1:40am

“We want to be clear – we have not speculated about the identity of this man, and we will not do so,” said Essex Police on Thursday morning.

“We can confirm that three properties in County Armagh have been searched in connection with our investigation,” they added.

Police confirmed all 39 men and women found in the lorry container were Chinese nationals.

It has been reported that 31 of the dead were men and eight were women.