23:00 Chinese ‘snakehead’ gangsters are feared to be behind the deaths of 39 migrants found frozen in the back of a lorry in Essex.
Snakehead thugs may have plotted the journey as part of a lucrative people-smuggling ring.
Police were tonight given more time to quiz driver Mo Robinson after the bodies were found in his truck at Grays, Essex.
Essex lorry deaths: all 39 victims were Chinese nationals
Police say 31 men and eight women were found in trailer, as details of its journey emerge
The 39 people found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex were Chinese nationals, police have confirmed.
The victims, discovered in a refrigerated trailer in Grays on Wednesday, were eight women and 31 men, Essex police added.
The reports came as Belgian authorities released details about the trailer’s journey and UK police pressed ahead with a murder investigation.
The Belgian federal prosecutor announced on Thursday it had opened an inquiry into the deaths of the 39 people, to focus on all parties involved in the transport.
“This investigation will be carried out in close cooperation with the British police and judicial authorities,” the prosecutor said in a statement.
The prosecutor said preliminary investigations showed the container had arrived in the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on Tuesday at 2.49pm local time (1349 BST) and left the same day, arriving at Purfleet in Essex at 1am on Wednesday morning.