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Fourth arrest at Stansted Airport over deaths of 39 migrants

PUBLISHED: 09:34 26 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 26 October 2019

Floral tributes left on Eastern Avenue, Grays, Essex, where 39 bodies were discovered in a lorry Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Floral tributes left on Eastern Avenue, Grays, Essex, where 39 bodies were discovered in a lorry Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Police in Essex are continuing to question four people over the deaths of 39 migrants whose bodies were found inside a lorry in Grays.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills speaks to the media during a press conference at Grays Police Station in Essex after the bodies of 39 people were found inside a lorry in the Waterglade Industrial Park during the early hours of Wednesday morning Picture: Yui Mok/PA WireDeputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills speaks to the media during a press conference at Grays Police Station in Essex after the bodies of 39 people were found inside a lorry in the Waterglade Industrial Park during the early hours of Wednesday morning Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

A 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was detained at Stansted Airport on Friday on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, Essex Police said.

The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in the refrigerated trailer in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of Wednesday.

Essex Police initially believed all of the dead were Chinese nationals, but the force said at a press conference "this is now a developing picture" amid reports several may be Vietnamese.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said she would give no more details about the nationalities of the victims until formal identification had taken place.

The Port of Tilbury where the bodies of the 39 people found inside a lorry in Essex are to be collected from to be transported to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA WireThe Port of Tilbury where the bodies of the 39 people found inside a lorry in Essex are to be collected from to be transported to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

It comes as the BBC said it had been in touch with six Vietnamese families who fear their relatives are among the dead.

Relatives of 26-year-old Pham Tra My told the broadcaster they have not been able to contact her since she sent a text on Tuesday night saying she was suffocating.

"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."

Her family said they had paid £30,000 for her to be smuggled into Britain, which has now been repaid.

Belgian officials said the trailer arrived at Zeebrugge at 2.49pm on Tuesday and left the port the same day en route to Purfleet.

The trailer arrived at Purfleet at around 12.30am on Wednesday, and was picked up by the cab, known as the tractor, which arrived from Northern Ireland via Holyhead in North Wales on Sunday.

The lorry left the port at Purfleet shortly after 1.05am before police were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays at 1.40am.

The Vietnamese embassy in London has said some families have contacted them asking about relatives but it is yet to receive any information from police.

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