Two people arrested over deaths of 39 migrants found in Essex lorry
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Two people arrested over deaths of 39 migrants found in Essex lorry

TWO people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of 39 migrants found in a lorry in Essex.

A man, 38 and a woman, 38 - both from Warrington in the north-west of England - have been taken into custody on conspiracy to traffic people and manslaughter, Essex Police have said.

"We have carried out warrants in Cheshire as part of the investigation into 39 bodies being discovered in a lorry trailer in Grays," said a spokesperson for Essex Police.

"As a result, a 38-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman from Warrington have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter."

This follows on from the arrest of a 25-year-old Northern Irishman, who is believed to have been the driver of the lorry, on Wednesday morning.

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Police investigate a lorry in which 39 bodies were discovered in the trailer, as they prepare move the vehicle from the site on October 23, 2019 in Thurrock, England.

"A 25-year-old man, the driver of the lorry, remains in custody on suspicion of murder. A warrant of further detention was granted yesterday, Thursday 24 October, by local magistrates," added the spokesperson.

According to reports, police are looking into the idea that the migrants were being trafficked into the country to be sent to work as prostitutes, although this is unconfirmed.

Its understood that the victims, who are believed to have died inside the refrigerated container of the lorry during their journey to the UK, are all Chinese nationals.

The lorry arrived at Purfleet port, Essex, on the River Thames, having travelled from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

It's alleged by Belgian authorities that the victims were locked inside the container, with a temperature of around -25 C, for over 10 hours before they crossed into England.

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At border crossings, authorities are known to use thermal imaging to view the inside of lorry containers, but this technology doesn't work on refrigerated containers.

It may explain why 39 migrants chose to be smuggled over the border in such dangerously cold conditions.