Two people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of 39 people discovered in a refrigerated lorry trailer in Essex, police said.
A man and a woman, both aged 38 and from Warrington in Cheshire, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.
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“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.”
The force added a 25-year-old man, the driver of the lorry, understood to be Mo Robinson, from Portadown in Northern Ireland, remains in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder.
An international investigation is now underway to establish how the 31 men and eight women, all believed to be Chinese nationals, were brought into the UK from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium early on Wednesday morning.
Post-mortem examinations of 11 of the victims are set to take place on Friday at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, after their bodies were transported from an area at the Port of Tilbury where they were being held.
The Chinese Embassy in London said it had sent a team to Essex, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said police had not yet been able to verify the nationalities of the deceased.
“We hope that the British side can as soon as possible confirm and verify the identities of the victims, ascertain what happened and severely punish criminals involved in the case,” she told a daily news briefing.