A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following the deaths of 39 Vietnamese people in a lorry trailer found in Grays, Essex.
The man, from Purfleet in the same county, was arrested on Monday morning at a property in Dalston, east London, Essex police said. He was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. He remains in custody for questioning.
Among the 39 people whose bodies were discovered in the trailer in the early hours of 23 October were 10 teenagers, including two 15-year-old boys. Emergency services were called to an industrial estate in Grays shortly after the lorry arrived on a ferry from Zeebrugge in Belgium.
On Monday, a lorry driver charged with manslaughter pleaded guilty to plotting to assist illegal immigration. Maurice Robinson appeared at the Old Bailey in London via video link from Belmarsh prison for a plea hearing. He spoke to confirm his identity and British nationality.
He admitted conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration between 1 May 2018 and 24 October 2019.
Police in Vietnam have arrested eight people suspected of being part of a ring responsible for smuggling Vietnamese people to Britain.
Essex police have also launched extradition proceedings to bring 22-year-old Eamonn Harrison from Ireland to the UK. He appeared at Dublin’s central criminal court last Thursday after he was arrested on a European arrest warrant in respect of 39 counts of manslaughter, one count of a human trafficking offence and one count of assisting unlawful immigration.
Harrison is accused of driving the lorry with the refrigerated container to Zeebrugge in Belgium before it was collected in Essex by Robinson. Robinson was remanded in custody until a further hearing on 13 December.