Police and forensic officers in Grays, Essex, after 39 bodies of Vietnamese migrants were found inside a lorry in October 2019. DPA/VNA Photo
Three police officers who investigated the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in the United Kingdom have been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen.
The members of Essex Police force will each receive the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM) for their hard work and dedication during the investigation.
In October 2019, the bodies of the 39 were discovered dead in the back of a lorry container at an industrial park in the south of England.
In the annual New Year’s Honours List, people who have made an outstanding contribution to society are recognised for their efforts.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, Chief Superintendent Stuart Hooper and Family Liaison Coordinator, Detective Inspector Michelle Stoten have been singled out for praise for their contributions to the investigation.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “DCI Pasmore ensured that his teams took care to show the utmost dignity and respect towards the victims, as he oversaw their journey from inside the lorry, to the mortuary, to making sure that each victim was identified so that they could be reunited with their loved ones following repatriation.
“Chief Superintendent Hooper brought together key agencies and law enforcement partners from nine other countries in order to share relevant information and get justice for the victims and their loved ones.”
DI Stoten was part of the team that came to Việt Nam in February last year and met with law enforcement officers and grieving relatives.
Watch a Việt Nam News special report on the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.
The Essex Police spokesman added: “Her time, patience and resourcefulness allowed for support to be given to families and communities over differing time scales, taking into account differing religions, faiths and cultures to ensure that each victim and their family are treated with respect and dignity.
“DI Stoten oversaw a visit to Việt Nam in February 2020, where Family Liaison Officers were able to meet families face-to-face for the first time, and led one of the teams in a remote part of the country, ensuring that we worked closely with Vietnamese law enforcement.”
Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “This has been a challenging year in many respects and it’s amazing to kick off 2021 with our officers and staff getting recognition for their dedication to the communities of Essex and beyond.”
Last month two men, Romanian ringleader Gheorghe Nica, 43, and lorry driver Eamonn Harrison, 24, from Northern Ireland, were found guilty on Monday of 39 counts of manslaughter.
Two other men, haulier boss Ronan Hughes, 41, of Armagh, and 26-year-old lorry driver Maurice Robinson, of Craigavon, had earlier admitted the manslaughter charges.
All four will be sentenced for their crimes later this month. — VNS