UPDATE: Police given extra time to interview driver after 39 bodies found in lorry container

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 named widely in the national media, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and will now remain in custody for up to an additional 24 hours.

It follows the discovery of the bodies of 8 women and 31 men in the trailer of a lorry in Waterglade Industrial Park, Grays, shortly before 1.40am on Wednesday October 23.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “This is an incredibly sensitive and high-profile investigation, and we are working swiftly to gather as full a picture as possible as to how these people lost their lives.

“Our recovery of the bodies is ongoing and the post-mortem and identification processes, which will be lengthy and complex, can then begin.

“Our number one priority is the preserving the dignity of the 39 people who have died and ensuring that we get answers for their loved ones.”

This afternoon, Supt Craig Saunders and Chief Insp Claire Talbot paid their respects with members of Thurrock Council by signing the open book of condolence at the civic office in Grays.

The dedicated hotline for this incident remains open. If you are worried about a loved one and you reside in the UK, call 0800 056 0944.

If you are dialling internationally, call 0044 207 158 0010.

If you have any information that you think can help the investigation you can call 101 or submit your information online at https://mipp.police.uk

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]