A Vietnamese priest is helping police get vital information from the families of two of the victims found dead in a lorry trailer in Essex, who themselves are too fearful to come forward.

All 39 victims are thought to be Vietnamese, police confirmed on Friday, as post-mortem examinations are being carried out on the 31 men and eight women found in the trailer in the early hours of October 23.

Reverend Simon Nguyen is helping Essex Police, by retrieving information from the victims' families in the UK, who are too scared to come forward.

He told ITV News: "I asked them if you find it very difficult to contact the police, could you please pass [on details of] your relatives and friends in the container, their identities.

"They gave me the names and all the pictures and all the marks on the body."

A memorial service held in a church in East London to honour the Vietnamese victims. Credit: ITV News

London's Vietnamese community gathered to pray for the families of the victims, at the Catholic church in Bow over the weekend.

Some of those attending the service had undertaken the same risks as the 39 migrants found dead in the trailer, to get from Vietnam to the UK.

Essex Police has opened a hotline for members of the Vietnamese community to call with more information about the victims or the smuggling networks involved, hoping it might prevent another tragedy.

All 39 victims are believed to be Vietnamese, police confirm. Credit: ITV News

The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson, has appeared in court charged with 39 counts of manslaughter, conspiracy to traffic people, conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration, and money laundering.

A second man, Eamonn Harrison, is facing extradition from Ireland to the UK following the 39 deaths.

Ronan Hughes, 40, and Christopher Hughes, 34, from Armagh in Northern Ireland, are wanted over the deaths of the migrants and have been urged to hand themselves in to police.