Essex lorry deaths: Police speak to man wanted over 39 bodies in container – but still cannot find him

Jon Sharman
·1-min read
Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh in Northern Ireland, are wanted by Essex Police (Essex Police)
Ronan Hughes (right), 40 and his brother Christopher Hughes, 34, both from Armagh in Northern Ireland, are wanted by Essex Police (Essex Police)

Update: Essex police have confirmed that no further action will be taken against Christopher Hughes

Essex Police have spoken by phone to a man wanted in the investigation into the deaths of 39 migrants in a lorry – but have not been able to track him down.

The force said on Friday that Ronan and Christopher Hughes, who are wanted for questioning, were still on the run.

Officers have spoken to Ronan Hughes, 40, on the phone, they revealed.

Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten, of Essex Police, told reporters at a press conference in Northern Ireland: “Today I want to make a direct appeal – Ronan and Christopher, hand yourselves in to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“We need you both to come forward and assist this investigation.

“Although we have already spoken to Ronan Hughes recently by telephone we need to have a conversation with him and his brother in person.

“Talking to Ronan and Christopher is crucial to our investigation and the sooner we can make this happen the sooner we can progress and continue with our investigation.”

The brothers are thought to be in Northern Ireland, but they also have links in the Republic and the haulage industry, Mr Stoten said.

A lorry connected to the pair was seized on Thursday, he added, while asking for anyone with information about them to come forward.

Mr Stoten did not take questions.

The bodies of 39 people were found in a refrigerated lorry container in Grays, Essex, last week.

Police initially believed they were Chinese but a number of Vietnamese families have since expressed concern that their relatives may be among the dead.

Efforts are underway to formally identify them.

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