Essex lorry deaths: All 39 victims were from Vietnam, officials say.

All 39 people found dead inside a lorry container in Essex have been identified as Vietnamese, the country's Ministry of Public Security has said.

Essex Police had initially said that officers believed the 31 men and eight women to be Chinese after finding the bodies inside the refrigerated unit in Grays on Oct 23.

But on Thursday, it was confirmed at a briefing at the Embassy of Vietnam in London the migrants had "permanent residence" in Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue.

All 39 have been formally identified by Her Majesty's Senior Coroner Mrs Caroline Beasley-Murray and their families have been told.

Mrs Beasley-Murray said: "May I take this opportunity to offer my deepest condolences to the victims’ families."

The senior officer in charge of the enquiry, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Smith said: "This is an important step in the investigation and enables us to work with our Vietnamese Police colleagues to support the families of those victims.

"It is only right that we provide an opportunity for family members to take in the news confirming the death of their loved ones before releasing any further information.

"Our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those whose tragic journey ended on our shores."

In a statement, a Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam spokesman said: "We are very sorry and would like to extend its deepest condolences to the victims' families and hope that the victims' families will soon overcome this great pain and loss.

"Currently, the Vietnamese authorities are urgently working with UK authorities to protect citizens, and at the same time, coordinate with UK police to urgently investigate and clarify the case."

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