How were the 39 people killed in the Essex lorry case identified?

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Deidre Nowell has worked on a number of major incidents
The MIPP was offered in both Vietnamese and English
“Every time we managed to identify one of the people we would put their photograph up on the wall,” said Michelle McHugh, the deputy bureau manager for Essex
Traces of gum used to put the pictures of the victims up once identified still remain on the glass wall of an area called “The Pit” at Essex Police’s Chelmsford HQ

Melissa Dark, who coordinates the UK’s National Casualty Bureau, said: “We never make assumptions in these cases and only build files on the factual evidence.

“If we don’t have the evidence to build a file – we simply don’t build it and wait for the science to tell us who individuals are.”

Once the scientific evidence puts the victim’s identity beyond doubt, it is signed off by a so-called reconciliation manager and sent first to a senior identification manager who presents the evidence to an Identification Commission, which is chaired by a coroner.

Ms Nowell tells of the “immense relief” she felt after all 39 victims were identified

Four men – Ronan Hughes, Gheorghe Nica, Eamonn Harrison and Maurice Robinson – were jailed for manslaughter in 2021. A further seven have been imprisoned in connection with the deaths. One further defendant is expected to go on trial later this year accused of conspiracy to assist illegal immigration.

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