Via – The Sun
THIRTY-NINE suspected migrants including a teenager died in “absolutely horrendous” conditions before their bodies were found in the back of a -25C chiller lorry in Essex.
The 25-year-old lorry driver, from Northern Ireland, was arrested in one of Britain’s biggest-ever mass murder investigations after the grisly discovery in Grays at 1.40am today.
Experts say the container appears to be refrigerated – meaning temperatures can reach as low as -25C causing people to “lose their lives pretty quickly”. It is not yet known how the victims died or if the refrigerator was switched on.
Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said the conditions would be “absolutely horrendous” in the dark lorry.
He added: “This tragedy highlights the danger of migrant gangs people-smuggling on lorries.
“It’s highly unlikely that if this vehicle has come from Europe that it’s been physically checked.”
It is the biggest disaster of its kind since 2000, when 58 Chinese stowaways died in a lorry travelling by ferry from Belgium to Britain.
It is understood the lorry was from Bulgaria and entered the UK via a ferry crossing from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales, on Saturday – meaning those inside could have been dead for at least four days.
The lorry’s windscreen has a number of decals – including a Celtic harp with “Ireland” written next to it and “the ultimate dream” at the bottom.
Local Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price has suggested people smugglers may be to blame for the tragedy – although police have refused to confirm this.
She tweeted: “Sickening news of 39 people found dead in a container in Grays.
“People trafficking is a vile and dangerous business. This is a big investigation for @EssexPoliceUK
“Lets hope they bring these murderers to justice”.
She later said in the Commons “putting 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil”.
Police are now working to the identify the 38 adults and one teenager but say it will be a “lengthy process”.
They were alerted by paramedics but it is not clear who made the original discovery. All 39 people were dead before the emergency services arrived.
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