Essex police, east of London, confirmed that the 39 people who were found dead inside a truck container on Wednesday were Chinese.
Among the deceased are eight women and a teenager. The authorities believe they probably froze to death.
On Wednesday night, the police searched two homes in Northern Ireland, where the truck driver came from. He is still detained as a homicide suspect.
According to British press, it was the driver who found the bodies when he opened the doors of the truck. One of his friends told the Mail Online newspaper that it was also him who called the ambulance service after the discovery of the corpses.
From Belgium to east England
The driver took over the container after its arrival at the port of Purfleet (east of England) from Zeebrugge (Belgium). Authorities believe that at least two different trucks pulled the container at different stages of the trip.
According to the Belgian Office of the Prosecutor, preliminary results of the investigation show that the container arrived at Zeebrugge at 14:49 on Tuesday, October 22 and left the port that same afternoon to arrive at Purfleet on October 23 at 1:00.
The investigators have not yet clarified the exact moment when the victims got into the truck, which was registered in Varna (Bulgaria) by an Irish company in 2017.