Wanted: Two brothers suspected of involvement in killing 39 people in Essex lorry

Police want to speak to brothers Christopher, left, and Ronan Hughes in connection with the deaths of 39 people found dead in a lorry in Essex (Pictures: PA)

Police have launched a manhunt for a pair of brothers from Northern Ireland who they suspect of being involved in the deaths of 39 people found in a lorry in Essex.

Ronan Hughes, 40, and his brother Christopher, 34, both from Armagh, are wanted on suspicion of manslaughter and human trafficking, Essex Police said.

According to the force, Ronan, who also goes by the name Rowan, and Christopher have links to Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

On Monday, lorry driver Maurice Robinson, 25, from Craigavon, appeared via videolink in court charged with 39 counts of manslaughter.

Maurice Robinson has been charged with 39 counts of manslaughter (Picture: Facebook)

Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper, who is leading the investigation, said: "Finding and speaking to the Hughes brothers is crucial to our investigation.

"At this time we believe they are in Northern Ireland but they also have links to the Irish Republic.

"If you know where they are or have any information about their whereabouts I need you to call my team.

"This is a case where 39 men and women have tragically died and support from the community is going to be vital to help bring those responsible to justice."

Maurice Robinson, drawn by a sketch artist, appeared via videolink in court on Monday (Picture: PA)

The bodies of eight women and 31 men were found in a refrigerated trailer attached to a lorry in an industrial park in Grays in the early hours of last Wednesday.

Robinson appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Monday and was also charged with conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

Read more

EU agrees to postpone Brexit until January 2020 in blow to Boris Johnson

Man trapped on top of 270ft industrial chimney has died, police confirm

Apple warns old iPhones will be cut off from internet if they don’t update software

Three other people arrested in connection with the incident - a 38 year-old man, a 38 year-old woman, and a 46 year-old man - have all been released on bail until November.

The discovery has sparked a huge international investigation to try and identify the victims.

Essex Police initially believed the 39 were all Chinese nationals, but Vietnamese men and women are feared to be among the dead.

The lorry in which the bodies of 39 people were discovered at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, Essex (Picture: AFP/Getty)

All of the victims have since been moved from the vehicle to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for post-mortem examinations to be carried out.

It is not yet known when the victims entered the trailer, where temperatures can be as low as minus 25C if the fridge is activated, or the exact route it travelled.

Belgian officials said the trailer arrived at Zeebrugge at 2.49pm on Tuesday and left the port the same day en route to Purfleet in Essex.

The trailer arrived at Purfleet at around 12.30am on Wednesday, and was picked up by the cab, known as the tractor, which arrived from Northern Ireland via Holyhead in North Wales on Sunday.

The lorry left the port at Purfleet shortly after 1.05am before police were called to the Waterglade Industrial Park on Eastern Avenue in Grays at 1.40am.

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---