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The victims, which included 38 adults and one teenager, were discovered early on Wednesday morning - 23 October - in the back of a wagon on an industrial estate in Essex.
The lorry was found at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays at around 1.40am, and police have since arrested a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland on suspicion of murder.
Police have now searched three addresses in Northern Ireland as they continue to interrogate the suspect.
A statement from Essex Police, released yesterday, explained detectives are continuing their investigation into what happened.
The statement said: "We were called shortly after 1.40am by our colleagues in the East of England Ambulance Service to reports that, sadly, 39 people had been discovered dead in the container of a lorry at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Eastern Avenue."
A second CCTV camera shows the lorry from a different angle on the same road before turning into the industrial parkhttps://t.co/kubNQBQoJY pic.twitter.com/hKg4etrD0D
- ITV News (@itvnews) October 23, 2019
An updated statement at 11.37am today (24 October) added: "Of these, 38 are believed to be adults, and one is a young adult woman. We previously reported that she may have been a teenager. We have since confirmed that eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men and all are believed to be Chinese nationals. We arrested a man on suspicion of murder, who remains in custody."
The statement continued: "Originally, we reported that the lorry had travelled into the country through Holyhead on Saturday 19 October.
"After further enquiries, we now believe that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge [a Belgian port and seaside resort] into Purfleet [Essex], and docked in the Thurrock area shortly after 12.30am this morning. The tractor unit of the lorry is believed to have originated in Northern Ireland.
"We believe the lorry and trailer left the port shortly after 1.05am.
"The driver of the lorry, a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland, remains in custody having been arrested on suspicion of murder."
The harrowing discovery has shocked the public in both the UK and beyond.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is 'appalled' by the 'tragic incident'.
He tweeted: "I am receiving regular updates from the Home Office and will work closely with Essex Police as we establish exactly what has happened.
"My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and their loved ones."
Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner said: "This is a tragic incident where a large number of people have lost their lives. Our enquiries are ongoing to establish what has happened.
"We are in the process of identifying the victims, however I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process."
Eric Van Duyse, a spokesperson for the Belgian federal authorities, said investigations had started.
He added: "We have no idea at the moment how long the lorry spent in Belgium, it could be hours or days, we just don't know."
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