UK police hunt for two brothers from Armagh over 39 deaths in lorry

UK police hunt for two brothers from Armagh over 39 deaths in lorry
Handout photo issued by Essex Police of Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh.

Detectives in England investigating the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in a lorry in Essex have named two suspects.

Essex police said they want to speak to Ronan Hughes, 40, and his brother Christopher, 34, both from Armagh.

The pair are both wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking.

According to the force, Ronan Hughes, who also goes by the name Rowan, and Christopher Hughes have links to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper, who is leading the investigation, said: “Finding and speaking to the Hughes brothers is crucial to our investigation.

“At this time we believe they are in Northern Ireland but they also have links to the Irish Republic.

“If you know where they are or have any information about their whereabouts I need you to call my team.

“This is a case where 39 men and women have tragically died and support from the community is going to be vital to help bring those responsible to justice.”

The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a refrigerated trailer attached to a lorry in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of last Wednesday.

The gruesome discovery last week has sparked a huge international investigation to try and identify the victims.

Essex Police initially believed the 39 were all Chinese nationals, but Vietnamese men and women are now feared to be among the dead and other nationalities may be involved.

All of the bodies have now been moved from the truck in Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, for post-mortem examinations to be carried out.

It is understood that very few had identification documents, forcing investigations to rely on features such as fingerprints, scars and tattoos to try and trace their families.

Mo Robinson, 25, from Craigavon, Northern Ireland, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

Three other people arrested in connection with the incident – a 38-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman, and a 46-year-old man – have all been released on bail until November.

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