Essex lorry victims ‘had no chance of survival’ as container could reach -25C

The 39 suspected migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex could have "froze to death", a source has claimed, as cops investigating the case continue looking for clues this morning.

A Northern Irish man, named locally as Maurice "Mo" Robinson, 25, from Country Armagh, is being held in connection with the deaths, as police launch the biggest UK murder probe since the 7/7 bombings.

The driver of the lorry was arrested shortly after the 39 bodies – including at least one teen – were discovered at around 1.10am on Wednesday.

It is thought Mr Robinson picked up the container at Purfleet, Essex, at around 12.30am before departing with its contents 35 minutes later.

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CCTV footage showed Robinson's lorry pulling a large white container united rented from an Irish firm called GTR.

Mr Robinson's vehicle displayed a Bulgarian number plate and it is understood that the vehicle containing the bodies was registered in Bulgaria.

On Wednesday night sources close to the Irish police said the lorry's refrigeration unit – capable of producing temperatures of -25C was switched on, according to The Sun.

Richard Burnett, CEO of the Road Haulage Association, told the publication: “A refrigerated unit like that one is built to be airtight to preserve what it carries.

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“It can sometimes be used to transport flowers or plants, but normally fresh produce.

“If it’s chilled, the trailer temperature will be set to -5C, but if it’s frozen you’re talking about -25C.

“There’s little or no chance of survival if you’re in those conditions for any length of time.”

Cops have begun the process of trying to identify 39 bodies found in a refrigerated lorry on an industrial estate in Grays, although investigators say it will be a long and difficult process.

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