Police officers drive away a lorry (C) in which 39 dead bodies were discovered. Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out on some of the 39 people found dead in a lorry in Essex, United Kingdom.

Eleven of the victims were taken by ambulance from the Port of Tilbury to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford on Thursday evening.

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Police believe the eight women and 31 men in the refrigerated unit were Chinese.

Meanwhile, detectives have been granted extra time to hold lorry driver Mo Robinson, 25, on suspicion of murder.

The private ambulance carrying the bodies left the port at 19:41 BST under police escort.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said recovering all the bodies would take time and the dignity of the victims was its primary concern.

Dr Richard Shepherd, one of the UK’s leading forensic pathologists, said post-mortem examinations on the 39 victims would be a “very slow, organised process”.

“It is a meticulous examination starting with looking externally,” he said.

“What clothes were they wearing? Is there any jewellery that might identify them? Are there any documents? Are there passports?

Dr Shepherd said pathologists would also be searching for clues about how the victims entered the refrigerated unit.

“Have these people been tortured? Have they been sexually assaulted? Have they been beaten and forced in?”