Discovery of 39 bodies in Essex lorry has horrifying echoes of earlier mass killing

Mirror Online 3 weeks ago

The discovery of 39 bodies inside a lorry container in Essex echoes a previous tragedy when 58 Chinese illegal immigrants were found dead in Dover.

In the early hours of this morning the emergency services made a horrifying discovery in an industrial estate in Grays, Essex.

In the back of a heavy goods vehicles were the dead bodies of 39 people, one of whom was a teenager.

The 25-year-old Northern Irish lorry driver has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The discovery bares similarities to a previous mass death nearly 20 years ag0.

A major crackdown on stowaways was launched after the 58 bodies were found in a sealed, airless container at Dover Port on June 18, 2000. Two young men survived the ordeal.

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The bodies were found in the lorry early this morning
The lorry seems to have been hastily left in Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays

Post-mortem examinations confirmed their deaths were due to respiratory failure through asphyxiation.

The Dutch driver of the lorry, Perry Wacker, was jailed for 14 years in April 2001 for the manslaughter of the immigrants, who had paid a criminal gang thousands to be smuggled into the UK.

Seven men were later jailed by a Dutch court for their role in the human-smuggling operation.

An inquest heard how the 58 immigrants banged frantically on the inside of the container as their air supply ran out.

Fifty eight asylum seekers were found dead in the back of this lorry in 2000
Dutchman Perry Wacker was jailed for 14 years for manslaughter

Coroner's officer Graham Perrin said a vent at the side of the refrigeration container had been closed before the lorry went on to a ferry at Zeebrugge, shutting off the air supply to the 56 young men and four young women.

He said the two survivors, who were found unconscious by customs officers, survived because more air became available inside the container with the death of each occupant.

Although there have so far been few official details regarding what ed to the deaths this morning, the likely cause is horrifying.

Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett container found today in Essex appeared to be a refrigerated unit and described conditions for anyone inside as "absolutely horrendous".

Inside the rear of Wacker's lorry where the migrants died

Temperatures in such units can be as low as -25C if frozen products are being transported, causing humans to "lose their lives pretty quickly", he said.

He went on: "It's going to be dark. If the fridge is running it's going to be incredibly cold.

"The only place to go to the toilet is on board the back of the trailer. You can imagine if they've been in there for days then there will be faeces, there will be urine."


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