Grenfell Tower victims’ families ‘left meeting’ after being told relatives may not be identified until end of year


Families of victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy left a private meeting after being told their relatives may not be identified until the end of the year.

They were told at a meeting with a coroner and the Met Police at the Olympia London, in West Kensington, just over a mile from the tower, on Tuesday night.

Lotifa Begum, a coordinator for Muslim Aid, said the families were told the “recovery phase”, where authorities identify bodies, could take until the end of this year.

She said some of the families inside the meeting, with Westminster coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox and Met commander Stuart Cundy, were “very upset and angry.”

A few had been overwhelmed by the news and had to leave before it concluded, the charity worker added.

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Families of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire arrive at private meeting with the police and coroner (PA)

The family of Jessica Urbano, who lived on the 20th floor of the building, arrived at the meeting wearing t-shirts saying ‘Happy Birthday Jessie’ along with a picture of the little girl, on what a family member online said was her 13th birthday.

Families of victims greeted each other at the entrance before going inside, some ushered in by police staff.

According to an email inviting families to the meeting, it was an opportunity for victims’ families to “have some questions answered”.

But the families were told before the meeting that they would not be allowed to put questions directly to Dr Wilcox or Commander Cundy, and had to email their questions in by 11am the day before.

It is understood that some family members were not happy with how the meeting was organised.

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Police officers arrive at Kensington Olympia for the private meeting with Grenfell Tower victims’ families (PA)

Ms Begum said: “A lot of the families would have appreciated a lot more time and notice.”

At least 80 people died or are presumed missing after the block of flats caught fire early on June 14.

Chris Imafidon left about two and a half hours after the meeting began, and said he felt “insulted” that victims’ families were not allowed to directly ask questions inside.

“Why would you not take questions if you don’t have anything to hide?” Mr Imafidon asked. 

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His close friend Mohamed Amied Neda had lived on the 23rd floor of the tower. The 57-year-old was found outside the tower and died from multiple injuries consistent with a fall.

Mr Imafidon added that many people did not know about the meeting until lunchtime on Monday, just hours after it was called, and a day before it happened.

Emerging from the meeting, he said he had been told inside not to speak to members of the press afterwards.

Mr Imafidon also criticised the daily newsletter provided to update friends and family of victims. “After reading this letter you know less” he said.

“There is nothing in this that is specific to any case, they just tell you generalities.”

Several families emerged from the meeting more than three hours after it had begun, but it was unclear whether the meeting was still going.

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