OFFICERS and staff from Essex Police are visiting the families of 39 Vietnamese people who died in a lorry in Grays.

A small team of 12, made up of police officers and staff, are in Vietnam to meet the families impacted by the terrible tragedy that happened on October 23 last year.

They will be in the country until the end of February and are working closely with the British Embassy and National Crime Agency international liaison staff in Hanoi, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have assisted with the arrangements for this trip.

Specialist officers from the NCA and officers from the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security will be joining the Essex Police team on the visits, and we have been working closely with both agencies throughout this investigation.

The 39 immigrants were found in the lorry in the early hours of the morning.

It was revealed yesterday that postmortem examinations found they had been starved of oxygen and died after overheating.

A 22-year-old man was arrested in Northern Ireland on Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration. He is in custody in Essex.

His arrest came after Gheorghe Nica, 43, of Mimosa Close, in Langdon Hills was detained at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday, January 29.

Nica was held under a European Arrest Warrant, which had been successfully applied for by Essex Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and will next appear at the Old Bailey, London, on March 16.

He is charged with 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.