Name of man said to have leased lorry containing 39 dead bodies revealed

A man said to have leased the lorry container in which 39 migrants died reportedly gave his name to the trailer’s owners as Ronan Hughes.

A ‘Mr Hughes’ signed the lease document, according to the Irish Times.

The newspaper also reported that the trailer made an earlier stop in the same area where the bodies were found after returning from a trip to Belgium.

READ ALSO: UK Lorry Deaths: Driver charged with 39 counts of manslaughter

It is understood that GPS data shows the refrigerated trailer made a stop in Thurrock in Essex, some time between October 17 and 22, close to the industrial estate where the grim discovery was made in the early hours of October 23.

The address was reportedly given on the lease document by ‘Ronan Hughes’ is said to match that of haulier C Hughes Transport.

C Hughes Transport was dissolved in 2017 but a C Hughes Logistics lists its business address as a post box along a farm track in County Monaghan on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A Ronan Hughes lives a short distance away, just over the border in the Irish Republic.

When MailOnline visited his home on Friday, Mr Hughes was unavailable for comment. However, a lorry with C Hughes insignia was parked in a yard near his home.

‘Mr Hughes’ is said to have leased the refrigerated container from Dublin-based Global Trailer Rents (GTR). There is no suggestion that Ronan Hughes knew of the trailer’s contents or destination.

The Irish Times reported that GTR said last week it was ‘entirely unaware that the trailer was to be used in the manner in which it appears to have been’.

Danny McNamee, a solicitor acting for GTR, told the newspaper that the first his client knew of the incident was when an acquaintance recognised the badge on the trailer in news footage.

‘The first he heard of it was when he received a Whataspp message advising him that his trailer had been involved in the incident,’ he said.

GPS data from the trailer shows that one of its first stops was at a crossroads In County Monaghan on October 15 before heading into Northern Ireland and then back across the border to Dublin and on to Holyhead in North Wales the following day.

Once in the UK it travelled across the country to Dover and then made a series of routes around Britain, including to Thurrock, and mainland Europe between October 17 and 22, when it made its final journey from Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet in Essex.

From there it was picked up by lorry and taken the short journey to Eastern Avenue in Thurrock where the bodies were discovered just before 2am on October 23.

Four people, including the 25-year-old driver, named as Mo Robinson, are being quizzed by Essex Police.

Friends of Mr Robinson said he had worked for C Hughes Transport in the past.

READ ALSO: Dead victims in UK lorry trailer, all Chinese nationals

The others being questioned include Joanna Maher, the last known owner of the lorry, and her haulage boss husband Thomas, who were arrested at their home in Warrington, Cheshire, and an unnamed 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland who was arrested at Stansted Airport.

GTR said on Thursday it was ‘entirely unaware the trailer was to be used in the manner in which it appears to have been.’

Many of the victims are thought to be originally from Vietnam and had entered Europe via China.

The Vietnamese ministry of foreign affairs has said it had asked the Vietnamese embassy in London to collaborate with police and help identify victims.

Relatives of Nguyen Dinh Luong, 20, Vo Nhan Du, 19, and 26-year-old Pham Thi Tra My fear they may be among the dead.

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