‘I can’t breathe’: Final texts to mum from Vietnamese woman feared among lorry victims

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A Vietnamese woman is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a lorry container at an industrial estate in Essex.

Tra My has been named as one of the possible victims by a member of a Hanoi-based human rights group.

The 26-year-old was identified on Twitter by Human Rights Space coordinator Hoa Nghiem, who sent a series of haunting messages to her family at around the time the container was in Essex.

Police have escorted the lorry away from the scene of the discovery
Image: Police have escorted the lorry away from the scene of the discovery

Sky News has translated the texts, which say: “So sorry mum and dad. The route to abroad didn’t succeed. Mum. I love you and dad so much. I am dying because I can’t breathe. I am from Can Loc Ha Tinh. Vietnam. Mum. I’m very sorry.”

Sky News is attempting to verify the report by Ms Nghiem, while BBC News reports three Vietnamese families have been in touch with concerns about loved ones who may be among the victims.

Timestamps on the messages sent by Tra My indicate that they were sent on Tuesday evening – just hours before the bodies of 31 men and eight women were found.

Her family is said to be looking for help to identify their daughter among the victims, who Essex Police had said were believed to be from China.

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But in a statement released earlier on Friday after two arrests in connection with the deaths, the force said the “picture may change regarding identification” as the investigation continues.

The Vietnamese embassy in London said it had contacted Essex Police and is “waiting for an answer”.

CCTV shows truck moments before it stops
CCTV of lorry before bodies found inside

Tra My is said to have been trying to get to the UK via France, although Belgian authorities believe the container was moved into the UK from Zeebrugge at 2.49pm local time on Tuesday.

The Belgian public prosecutor’s office said it is “not clear” when and where the victims were placed in the container, which was owned by Irish company Global Trailer Rental and rented out on 15 October.

Police have made two arrests in Warrington
Image: Police have made two arrests in Warrington

Police have arrested three people – most recently a 38-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman from Warrington on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter.

The driver of the lorry – named by Sky sources as Mo Robinson – was arrested on suspicion of murder when police were called to the discovery at 1.40am on Wednesday at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays.

The latest arrests came amid preparations for post-mortem examinations, which will begin on Friday.

At least 11 victims have been taken to Broomsfield Hospital in Chelmsford by private ambulances under a police escort, with all of the bodies expected to be transported by the end of the week.

They were all moved to a more sensitive site at nearby Tilbury Docks after the initial discovery.

Forensic officers investigate the lorry
Image: Forensic officers investigate the lorry

China has called for “severe punishment” for anyone found to be involved in the deaths and the Chinese embassy has sent a team to Essex.

At a briefing on Friday, foreign affairs ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the country hopes police can “as soon as possible confirm and verify the identities of the victims”.

State newspaper Global Times has also said the UK should bear some responsibility, saying: “It is clear that Britain and relevant European countries have not fulfilled their responsibility to protect these people from such a death.”

Officers say people who are concerned about a loved one should call 0800 056 0944, or 0044 207 158 0010 if calling from abroad.

Sky News is broadcasting a Brexit-free channel, weekdays 5pm to 10pm on Sky 523.

Essex lorry deaths: Vietnamese woman feared to be among victims

A Vietnamese woman is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a lorry container at an industrial estate in Essex. Tra My has been named as one of the possible victims by a member of a Hanoi-based human rights group.

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