Grenfell death toll ‘may be below 80’

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The number of people who died in the Grenfell Tower fire may be a little lower than the previous estimate of 80, police have said.

They say the figure “may come down a little bit” because of some potential cases of fraud.

Detectives looking into the blaze on 14 June have seized 31 million documents and taken over 1,000 statements so far.

Scotland Yard said it may also consider individual as well as corporate manslaughter charges.

The Metropolitan Police, in a briefing, said 60 of the estimated 80 people killed have been formally identified.

Commander Stuart Cundy said progress made in recovering remains was “much higher” than he had expected three months ago.

In the initial weeks following the fire, police were unwilling to speculate on the final death toll.

That left some people convinced that the eventual figure would be much higher than officially confirmed.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner said the investigation would deal with “whatever offences come to light”.

He said: “The kind of stuff I would envisage we may come across would involve offences perhaps of fraud, misconduct offences, health and safety breaches, breaches of fire safety regulations, and of course offences of manslaughter, whether that be on a corporate or an individual level.”

It emerged that the force is investigating eight cases in which people may have fraudulently claimed money, as well as four allegations of theft from Grenfell Tower – one involved a “considerable” sum of money.

Police ‘devastated’ by theft

Two of the eight people have been charged, one has been bailed, while the other allegations are still being looked into.

Of the thefts, Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said: “I can’t explain to you the devastation that every police officer at Grenfell Tower… feels about that.”

She said they doubled the number of officers working in the tower on Monday in the hope of completing the recovery process by the New Year.

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle died in the fire, wants “individuals charged, prosecuted and sent to prison” but says he knows it will take time.

He told the BBC: “As time goes on, you understand the scale of everything and I think it would be wrong to want things done quickly. We want things done properly.

“It would be very naive of me to believe that this is going to be a quick thing, it’s not. It’s going to be a long time before we get any justice.”

Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw says it is likely to be “some months” before police start questioning possible suspects.

He said: “It’s still far too early to say what possible charges are going to be brought – if any – because this investigation is still in its early stages. It’s the gathering evidence stage.”

The police have seized 31 million documents and identified 336 companies of interest.

Investigators have so far taken more than 1,000 statements, and identified 2,400 different people they want to speak to.

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