The parents of a man arrested over the deaths of 39 people found in a refrigerated lorry have been brought by police to England from their home in Northern Ireland to see him, the Guardian understands.
Mo Robinson, 25, a self-employed haulier from County Armagh, was detained after the bodies of 31 men and eight women were discovered in the vehicle on an industrial estate in Grays, Essex, on Wednesday.
On Thursday, magistrates in Basildon granted officers a warrant to hold him in custody for an additional 24 hours .
Local sources said his parents, who live in the village of Laurelvale, made the trip to visit their son at the request of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. A neighbor told the Belfast Telegraph they had gone to England to see him.
Three properties in Northern Ireland – Robinson’s home, a nearby property he used to share with his parents, and a third site in Armagh – were raided overnight. Computers were taken away as part of the investigation, sources said.
On Thursday morning it was confirmed that the 39 people found in the lorry were all Chinese. Police said they would soon start the process of moving the bodies from the lorry to a mortuary.
The bodies will be taken by private ambulance under police escort from Tilbury Docks to Broomfield hospital in Chelmsford, where postmortems will be carried out.
The process was to begin on Thursday afternoon and it was hoped all the bodies would be removed from the lorry by the weekend, a police spokesman said.
The home secretary, Priti Patel , met officers from the Essex force to be updated on the investigation, and local dignitaries and police gathered to open a book of condolence.
Essex’s deputy chief constable, Pippa Mills, said: “This is an incredibly sensitive and high-profile investigation, and we are working swiftly to gather as full a picture as possible as to how these people lost their lives.
“Our recovery of the bodies is ongoing and the postmortem and identification processes, which will be lengthy and complex, can then begin. ”
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