Grays lorry deaths: Essex Police search for Marius Mihai Draghici over deaths of 39 migrants

Marius Mihai Draghici
Credit: Essex Police
Essex Police have appealed for help finding Marius Mihai Draghici, 48, in connection with the 2019 Essex lorry deaths. Credit: Essex Police

Police investigating the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants found in a lorry trailer in Essex are hunting a man who could be the "final piece of the jigsaw".

The Vietnamese men, women and children were discovered suffocated on 23 October, 2019, on Eastern Avenue in Grays in Essex.

Ten people have been sentenced for their roles in the deaths, including the driver of the lorry - Northern Irishman Maurice Robinson. Their sentences total almost 100 years.

Now Essex Police have named a Romanian man they are searching for who they suspect of being involved.

Marius Mihai Draghici, 48, is suspected of being part of the network which co-ordinated immigrants’ journeys to the UK both in connection with the deaths and on a number of prior occasions.

39 bodies of Vietnamese migrants were found inside a lorry trailer in Essex in October 2019. Credit: PA

Draghici also goes by the aliases Marius Mihai Selaru and Marius Lupu and was born in the Romanian city of Onesti.

Essex Police say he has specific connections in the Bacau area of Romania as well as in Spain. He is also known to work in the haulage industry.

Det Ch Insp Louise Metcalfe, who is leading the investigation, said: “Draghici is wanted in connection with a very serious offence.

"We strongly believe he is linked to the conspiracy which tragically ripped apart the families of the 39 innocent Vietnamese men, women and children who died on our shores in 2019. The actions we believe he is responsible for cannot go unpunished."

The lorry had travelled from Zeebrugge in Belgium to the Port of Purfleet, in Essex.

The victims and their families had paid significant sums of money to an organised criminal group whose members promised them safe passage to the UK and a life there.

An official Vietnamese delegation visited Essex Police headquarters on Wednesday to meet senior officers and those investigating the incident.

A delegation from Vietnam has visited Essex Police headquarters as part of the 39 lorry deaths investigation. Credit: Essex Police

Ch Supt Stuart Hooper, who is overseeing the investigation, said: “We have lived up to our promise of delivering justice but there is one final piece of that jigsaw to be completed.

“We’ll be working with international partners and other agencies in order to make sure our appeal is heard far and wide.

“We are committed to tracking down every individual we believe to be connected to this most horrific of crimes.”

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