We tried to talk her out of travelling – victim’s family
Police: One due in court and three bailed after migrants found dead in lorry
The family of a young Vietnamese woman thought to be among the 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex said she dismissed their pleas not to travel.
Pham Tra My, 26, has not been in contact with her family since sending a final text message home on Tuesday saying she could not breathe.
Police later found the bodies of eight women and 31 men in the refrigerated trailer of a lorry on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, in the early hours of Wednesday.
The lorry driver, 25-year-old Maurice “Mo”
“If I had known she would go by this route I would not have let her”
Robinson, from Northern Ireland, is due to appear in court today 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 deaths have been released on bail, Essex Police said yesterday.
Relatives of Ms Tra My told the BBC they had not been able to contact her since she sent a text on Tuesday night saying she was suffocating.
“I am really, really sorry, Mum and Dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed,”
Harry Dunn she wrote. “I am dying, I can’t breathe. I love you very much Mum and Dad. I am sorry, Mother.”
Ms Tra My is reported to have paid about £30,000 to people smugglers in order to be brought into the UK illegally.
Her father, Pham Van Thin, told Sky News: “We tried to talk her out of it because it would be a very difficult journey for her as a girl.
“But she said: ‘If I don’t go, the family would stay in a very difficult situation because of the big debt’.
“So she took a risk and decided to go, and we had to agree.”
He added: “We all have been in shock. I cannot explain our pain and devastating feeling.”
He told CNN that smugglers said the crossing was “a safe route” and that people would go by aeroplane or car.
“If I had known she would go by this route I would not have let her go,” the father said.
All of the victims have been moved from the vehicle in Tilbury Docks to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford where they will undergo post-mortem examinations.
Essex Police is now working on the largest mass fatality victim identification process in its history, having previously said all were from China.
Investigators will look at tattoos, scars and belongings, including jewellery and clothing, with each of the victims said to have had some kind of bag.
More than 500 exhibits have been collected, including mobile phones, which will be scoured for clues to the identity of the victims or how they came to be in the back of the trailer.
Detectives are investigating a “wider conspiracy” after claims surfaced that the lorry could have been part of a convoy of three carrying around 100 people.
Belgian police are hunting the driver who delivered the trailer to Zeebrugge.
AFTERMATH: Police at the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex, where 39 bodies were found inside a lorry container