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Police appeal to brothers suspected of link to 39 lorry deaths

Police on Friday urged two brothers to contact them over suspected links to the lorry container in which 39 migrants were found dead in the English county of Essex on October 23.

Speaking in Belfast, Essex Police Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten urged the brothers to “hand yourselves in to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.’’

The police earlier arrested the 25-year-old Northern Irish driver of the lorry that collected the container from the British freight port of Purleet, near London, after it was shipped from Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Ronan Hughes, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, are also from Northern Ireland and run a haulage business.

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“We need you both to come forward and assist this investigation,’’ Stoten told them.

“Although, we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person,’’ he said, after Ronan Hughes reportedly called the police to discuss the case.

In a related development, Essex Police started proceedings on Friday to extradite a 23-year-old man from Northern Ireland who was charged in Dublin with manslaughter, human trafficking and immigration offences.

The police have not confirmed the nationality of the victims, but reports suggest many of them are Vietnamese.

Twenty-eight families have reported missing relatives in the Vietnamese provinces of Ha Tinh and Nghe An, according to local media.

The BBC reported on Friday that Vietnamese police had detained two more suspects, adding to the four arrested earlier this week. (NAN)