6 February 2020

INQUEST, Liberty and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants sent a letter to the Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, urging her to confirm that she will hold full inquests into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a refrigerated lorry in October last year.

Essex county council, speaking on behalf of the Essex coroner, confirmed to the Guardian that inquests into the 39 deaths would be opened.

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, responded:

We hope the scope will be broad enough to satisfy the families about how and why their loved ones died. Vulnerable people are engaging in more and more desperate measures to reach the UK and are at risk of extreme exploitation, serious harm and death. Men, women and children died in the most shocking circumstances and we owe it to them and their families to have the most searching scrutiny of these deaths in the hope of that changes will be made to help in preventing similar future deaths.