|The News Line: News
Friday, 8 March 2019
No Grenfell criminal charges until 2021!
CAMPAIGNERS have reacted with fury at news that criminal charges over the Grenfell Tower fire may not be considered until 2021.
|Marchers on the Grenfell Silent Walk demanding that those responsible for the inferno must pay for the crime
Scotland Yard will not hand a file to prosecutors until the end of a public inquiry into the disaster. Survivors’ group Grenfell United said families were disheartened and very angry at the refusal to make official progress.
The police have ruled it ‘would be wrong’ not to take into account evidence given to the independent hearing. A total of 72 people were killed as a result of the fire in June 2017. The first phase of the inquiry, which centred on the night of the fire, ended in December.
Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the second phase was unlikely to start until the end of 2019. Grenfell United chair Natasha Elcock said: ‘We are living in a limbo with no individuals or organisations being held accountable and it is so painful for all of us who lost loved ones and our homes that night.’
‘We have been waiting month after month, our lives on hold, for some kind of justice and progress. Elcock revealed that the group, which represents survivors and bereaved relatives, had yet to be told details of the next stage of the inquiry.
‘Vague reassurances are wearing thin,’ she warned. ‘Families need clear commitments to keep faith in this process’. Lead investigator Det Supt Matt Bonner insists that the timelines of the inquiry and the police probe were ‘inextricably linked’.
He said officers must ‘consider all relevant information’, including evidence and findings from the inquiry, for their investigation to be ‘considered thorough and complete’.
At the close of the inquiry’s first phase last year, Sir Martin said 200,000 documents had yet to be disclosed to the inquiry – a process set to take until this autumn. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said while the delay would be ‘distressing’ for families and survivors, he could understand why the police would ‘want to make sure there is a proper investigation’.
Natasha Elcock, who is a mother of three, used bathwater to put out flames as their 11th-floor flat began to catch fire and said bereaved families and fellow survivors ‘know the truth about what happened to us.
‘We know the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower turned our homes into a death trap and we know that people, organisations and institutions that were meant to care for us didn’t and 72 people died. And yet no one has been held accountable.’
She continued that thousands of people are continuing to live in homes with dangerous cladding 21 months after the blaze, and that people in social housing ‘are still being mistreated’ by landlords.
Survivors of the inferno are convinced that justice is being denied to them and those that died and that the council leaders and the builders that installed the inflammable covering for the Tower, and the government that allowed the deregulating away of fire safety procedures should face criminal charges and retribution.
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