Man charged in relation to 39 bodies found in lorry container in Grays

Mick Ferris

A man has been charged in connection with the investigation into the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in Grays on Wednesday.

Maurice Robinson, 25, of Laurel Drive, Craigavon, Northern Ireland was arrested shortly after the discovery was made at the Waterglade Retail Park.

He is due to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday October 28 charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration and money laundering.

Three other people have been arrested in connection with this investigation. A 38 year-old man and a 38 year-old woman from Warrington and a 48 year-old man from Northern Ireland, who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter remain in custody.

All of the 39 people found in the lorry have now been moved from Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

The process to identify them and where they are from is continuing. This process works in tandem to the investigative process – as police look to both identify those who have died and identify and preserve any forensic evidence.

This is the largest mass fatality victim identification process in the history of Essex Police.

The force is using internationally-recognised standards of identification to identify the deceased. These are known as the INTERPOL Disaster Victim Identification Standards.

Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) is the internationally accepted term for the processes and procedures for recovering and identifying deceased people and human remains in multiple fatality incidents.

The process involves bringing together antemortem and postmortem information to make a positive identification by scientific means.

Victims are identified where possible, by at least one of the primary identification methods which are dental comparison, fingerprints and DNA.

Other, secondary, identification features are also taken into consideration, such as tattoos and scars. Supporting information to consider can include jewellery, clothing or property.

Once a preliminary identification has been made, trained liaison officers are deployed to support families.

These processes take place in conjunction with the Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray.

Both Essex Police and the coroner are committed to working as quickly as possible to identify people and repatriate them to their families.

There are 39 victims and each appears to have a bag of some description, clothes, and other belongings.

So far, police have over 500 exhibits, including mobile phones.

Senior Identification Manager Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore said:
“We are working hard to understand how the 39 victims of this tragic incident have died and to identify all those involved.

“We remain open minded as to nationalities of those who have died. We are asking anyone who may have information that may assist us in identification to come forward.

“We will do all we can to put our arm around you and establish as quickly as possible whether or not we have your loved one involved in this tragic incident, and try and reunite you.

“It may well be people are here illegally and they want to come forward with information or concerns, particularly if they believe their loved one is involved.

“We understand some people may be frightened, but I hope people will put trust in me and make that leap of faith – Essex Police will not look to take any action against you.

“Please make contact with my team by reporting information through our portal or contact our dedicated hotline on 0800 056 0944 if you live in the UK and 0044 207 158 0010 if you’re dialling internationally.

“Our thoughts remain with all those so affected by this tragedy.”


Mick Ferris

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