UPDATE: Lorry containing 39 bodies now thought to have arrived through Purfleet, says Essex Police

A LORRY inside which 39 bodies were discovered this morning did not arrive through Holyhead on Saturday as originally believed, said Essex Police.

The force has opened a murder investigation after the bodies of 38 adults and a teenager were discovered inside the container of a lorry in Grays in the early hours of today.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills called the incident ‘an absolute tragedy’.

In a new statement, Essex Police said: “Originally, we reported that the lorry had travelled into the country through Holyhead on Saturday, October 19.

“After further enquiries, we now believe that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge into Purfleet and docked in the Thurrock area shortly after 12.30am this morning.

“The tractor unit of the lorry is believed to have originated in Northern Ireland. We believe the lorry and trailer left the port shortly after 1.05am.”

Police were called to the Waterglade Industrial park in Grays at 1.40am by the ambulance service.

They said they anticipated a ‘lengthy and complex investigation’.
Essex Police has set up a ‘casualty bureau’, which people can call if they have concerns that their loved ones may be among the dead.

  • The number for people within the UK is 0800 056 0944.
  • The number for people outside the UK is 0207 158 0010.

*The lorry driver – a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland – has been arrested on suspicion of murder.


Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: basildon@yellowad.co.uk