A Vietnamese family has revealed its fears that their daughter is among 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in Essex.

The family of Pham Tra My, 26, told the BBC they had paid £30,000 for her to be smuggled to Britain, which has now been repaid.

They said they have not been able to contact her since she sent text messages on Tuesday night – around two hours before the refrigerated trailer arrived in the port of Purfleet – saying she was suffocating.

HeraldScotland: Pham Tra My’s family said they paid £30,000 for her to be smuggled to UK.Pham Tra My’s family said they paid £30,000 for her to be smuggled to UK.

“I am really, really sorry, mum and dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed,” she wrote.

“I am dying, I can’t breathe. I love you very much mum and dad. I am sorry, mother.”

READ MORE: Essex lorry deaths: 39 found dead 'were Chinese nationals'

Her brother told the broadcaster: “My sister went missing on October 23 on the way from Vietnam to the UK and we couldn’t contact her. We are concerned she may be in that trailer.

“We are asking the British police to help investigate so my sister can be returned to the family.”

Detectives investigating the deaths made another arrest on Friday, detaining a man at Stansted Airport. The 48-year-old, from Northern Ireland, was held after the bodies of eight women and 31 men were discovered in a refrigerated trailer in Grays in the early hours of Wednesday.

He was taken into custody on suspicion of conspiracy to traffic people and on suspicion of manslaughter. A couple named locally as haulage boss Thomas Maher and his wife Joanna, both 38, were also arrested on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking.

The driver of the Scania truck, named locally as 25-year-old Mo Robinson, from Northern Ireland, remains in custody after he was held on suspicion of murder on Wednesday.

Police could be seen at the Mahers’ four-bedroom house in Warrington, which had two grey Range Rovers with personalised number plates and a white Chevrolet sports car parked on the drive.

The previous day, they claimed to have sold the Bulgarian-registered Scania lorry cab, that picked up the trailer in Purfleet, to a company in Ireland. Mrs Maher, who is reportedly the last known owner of the vehicle, told MailOnline: “We did own it but sold it 13 months ago.”

Officers carried evidence bags inside the four-bedroom property. The house was bought by the couple, originally from southern Ireland, for £255,000 in March 2017, according to Land Registry records, before they undertook extensive renovations on the property, according to neighbours. Locals said Mr Maher is the owner of a haulage firm and his wife works as a hairdresser.


They said they have three children, two boys, aged 18 and 11, and a 15-yearold girl, and enjoy numerous holidays, including trips to Mexico and long cruises. Post-mortem examinations were due to begin yesterday as the bodies were moved by private ambulance from the port of Tilbury to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.