What We Know About The 39 Bodies Found In A Truck
Mystery still surrounds the gruesome discovery of 39 bodies in a shipping container at a British industrial estate, with a man arrested over the deaths of the unidentified people.
The grisly find has shocked many around the world. A fresh-faced 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland is in custody after being identified as the driver of a truck carrying the container, which is believed to have travelled across Europe before being searched at a facility in Essex, north of London on Wednesday.
Here's what we know about the truck filled with bodies.
Where did it come from?
The bodies were found on Wednesday, in a refrigerated shipping container which had been loaded onto the back of the truck. The vehicle and driver can be traced back to Northern Ireland, but the identities of the deceased are still a mystery.
Police are still in the early stages of an investigation, but Essex authorities initially believed the container may have travelled from the eastern European nation of Bulgaria -- between Greece and Romania, in the continent's south. The truck was registered in Bulgaria in 2017. A long route through countries like Serbia, Hungary and Austria was first believed to have brought the truck to Belgium, and the port of Zeebrugge.
From there, police believe the truck was loaded onto a ship and sailed to the British port of Purfleet, near London, before being taken further to Essex, where it was met by the truck from Northern Ireland. A previous theory proposed it had entered England through the port of Holyhead, in Wales, but police have since discounted that idea.
It is some 25 hours of non-stop driving from Bulgaria to the coast of Belgium, where the journey is thought to have continued by boat. However, the Bulgarian Prime Minister has discounted that theory, claiming the truck had not entered his country for several years.
"The truck was registered in 2017, in Bulgaria," PM Boyko Borissov said.
“It then leaves Bulgaria, and never re-enters Bulgaria again."
"There is no way that we can be connected, except for the registration plate of the truck. Despite this, we are working very well with the British authorities.”
Where was it going?
The truck was found at the Waterglade Industrial Park in the suburb of Grays, in the county of Essex, a 40-minute drive east of London. It is unclear where, if anywhere, it was scheduled to go after that.
The temperatures inside the truck could be as low as 25 below freezing.
Who were the dead?
It is still unclear exactly who the people -- said to be 38 adults and one teenager -- were. However, early indications point to the dead as being asylum seekers or refugees, and the incident as being linked to human trafficking.
Bulgaria is a popular origin point for migrant journeys to western Europe, with refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East congregating there due to Bulgarian authorities' approving a high percentage of refugee applications.
However, police do not believe the people in the truck were from Bulgaria, and the country's government has distanced itself from the issue.
"This will be a lengthy and complex investigation and we continue to work with local partners and international authorities to gather vital intelligence and identify those who have sadly died," Essex police said.
British authorities and politicians have already begun discussing migration and people smugglers, with talk that Purfleet and Zeebrugge have become human trafficking hotspots in recent years. Prior hubs for people smugglers, such as port cities in France, have been quashed by authorities so criminals have had to look further abroad.
Who is the driver?
It is unclear at this stage exactly what involvement Northern Irish man Mo Robinson, 25, had with the truck. It has been reported that the shipping container was taken from Belgium to Essex, where it was met by a truck owned by a woman from Northern Ireland, and formerly registered in Bulgaria.
It has not yet been detailed whether the truck drove the container from its initial location to Belgium and then on, or whether it simply met the container in Essex.
The driver has been identified by Irish media as Morris 'Mo' Robinson, a 25-year-old truck driver from Armagh. He has been arrested on suspicion of murder. Pictures on his Facebook page show a fresh-faced young man, with bright green eyes, often driving trucks -- including one identical to the one pictured at the industrial park where the bodies were discovered.
Paul Berry, a local councillor for Armagh, told CNN that Robinson's family were "salt of the earth"
Is this trend common?
Sadly, yes. Just hours after the truck was found in Essex, another nine migrants were found in the back of another vehicle on a highway in Kent. Luckily, they were alive.
In 2000, 58 Chinese migrants were found deceased in a container at Kent.
In 2015, 27 migrants were found in a truck at a Surrey service station, while another 16 were discovered in an "exceptionally hot" truck at Sussex.
Each of these locations were at or near port towns.
What happens next?
Police are still trying to piece together many parts of this investigation; the origin of the container, the people inside and how they got there, how they died, and who is to be held responsible for their deaths.
Robinson remains in custody, suspected of murder.