Essex lorry deaths: Daughter who sent final text message among dead
Names of 39 Vietnamese victims released by police after identification process completed
Among the dead is Pham Thi Trà My. The 26-year-old from Ha Tinh province sent a final text message to her mother from the truck. File photograph: Guardian
The names of the 39 Vietnamese victims, including three boys, found dead in the back of a truck near London last month have been released by British police.
Consultations have begun with Hanoi over repatriation of the bodies.
The 31 males and eight women were found in a container on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, not far from docks on the river Thames, in the early hours of October 23rd.
Among those confirmed as being among the dead was Pham Thi Trà My. The 26-year-old from Ha Tinh province sent a text message to her mother in what transpired to be her final moments. She wrote that she was struggling to breathe and apologised.
“I’m sorry Mum. My journey abroad hasn’t succeeded. Mum, I love you so much! I’m dying because I can’t breathe . . . I’m from Nghèn, Can Loc, Hà Tinh, Vietnam . . . I am sorry, Mum,” she wrote.
Police said last week they believed all were Vietnamese and on Friday said they had completed the identification process with Vietnamese officials, revealing that ten of the victims were teenagers.
Two were aged just 15 and another was 17, while the oldest aged 44.
“This was an incredibly important process and our team has been working hard to bring answers to worried families who fear their loved one may be among those whose tragic journey ended on our shores,” said assistant chief constable of Essex Police Tim Smith.
“It remained of paramount importance to us to ensure that an individual’s next of kin were informed and that they were given some time to absorb this tragic news before we publicly confirmed their loved one’s identity.”
Police said the Vietnamese and British governments were working on how to achieve repatriation of the bodies. The exact cause of the deaths has not yet been disclosed.
The victims were found not long after the container arrived in Britain from Zeebrugge in Belgium. The refrigerated unit was picked up at Purfleet dock, east of London, while police believe the truck cab was driven over from Ireland.
The truck driver, from Northern Ireland, has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people and money laundering. A second man has been charged with the same offences and British authorities are now in the process of trying to extradite him from Dublin.
They are also hunting for two brothers from Northern Ireland, Ronan Hughes (40) and his brother Christopher Hughes (34) both from Armagh.
Vietnamese police have also arrested 10 people there in connection with the deaths.
Police named the victims as follows:
From Ha Tinh province
Pham Thi Tra My (26); Nguyen Dinh Lurong (20); Nguyen Huy Phong (35); Vo Nhan Du (19); Tran Manh Hung (37); Tran Khanh Tho (18); Vo Van Linh (25); Nguyen Van Nhan (33); Bui Phan Thang (37); and Nguyen Huy Hung (15).
From Nghe An province
Tran Thi Tho (21); Bui Thi Nhung (19); Vo Ngoc Nam (28); Nguyen Dinh Tu (26); Le Van Ha (30); Tran Thi Ngoc (19); Nguyen Van Hung (33); Hoang Van Tiep (18); Cao Tien Dung (37); Cao Huy Thanh (33); Tran Thi Mai Nhung (18); Nguyen Minh Quang (20); Pham Thi Ngoc Oanh (28); Hoang Van Hoi (24); Nguyen Tho Tuan (25); Dang Huu Tuyen (22); Nguyen Trong Thai (26); Nguyen Van Hiep (24); Nguyen Thi Van (35); Tran Hai Loc (35).
Le Trong Thanh (44) from Dien Chau; Duong Minh Tuan (27) from Quang Binh; Nguyen Ngoc Ha (32) from Quang Binh; Nguyen Tien Dung (33) from Quang Binh; Phan Thi Thanh (41) from Hai Phong; Nguyen Ba Vu Hung (34) from Thua Tien Hue; Dinh Dinh Thai Quyen (18) from Hai Phong; Tran Ngoc Hieu (17) from Hai Duong; Dinh Dinh Binh (15) from Hai Phong.