A fourth person has been arrested in connection with the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in a lorry in Essex.

Essex Police said a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland was arrested at Stansted Airport on Friday.

He was held on suspicion of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people.

Eight women and 31 men were found dead in the lorry on Wednesday. Police initially said they were all believed to be Chinese nationals.

Dep Ch Cons Pippa Mills speaks to the media during a press conference at Grays police station in Essex on Friday night (Yui Mok/PA)

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

Earlier on Friday, a man and a woman, both aged 38 and from Warrington, Cheshire, were also arrested on suspicion of 39 counts of manslaughter and people trafficking.

At a press conference, Dep Ch Cons Pippa Mills refused to go into further detail about the nationalities of the victims, amid fears Vietnamese woman Pham Thi Tra My, 26, was in the lorry.

She would only say: “We gave an initial steer on Thursday on nationality, however this is now a developing picture.”

Ms My’s brother, Pham Ngoc Tuan, told the BBC the family has not been able to contact her since she sent a text on Tuesday night saying she was suffocating.

A translated WhatsApp message from Ms My, which has been shared on social media, read: “I am really, really sorry, mum and dad, my trip to a foreign land has failed.

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

As well as Ms My’s brother, the BBC said it has been in contact with six Vietnamese families who fear their relatives are among the victims.

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