THE COMPANIES that carried out the Grenfell Tower refurbishment killed 72 people ‘just as surely as if they had taken careful aim with a gun and pulled the trigger,’ Sam Stein QC representing a group of the bereaved and survivors told the Grenfell inquiry on Thursday.
The charge was made after leading companies had let it be known that they would not give evidence in case it was used against them in a future criminal trial
The inquiry heard evidence that the companies that made the Grenfell Tower cladding materials marketed their products in the UK despite knowing that they were highly combustible.
It was alleged that they had specifically targeted Grenfell Tower.
An internal email from the insulation manufacturer Celotex revealed an executive admitting that it was ‘clearly wrong’ to use combustible insulation on buildings of any height.
Robb Warrent of Celotex in Ipswich said, ‘The fire had not got a tape measure and if it starts on the ground floor it will love to race up.’
Stephanie Barwise, representing 280 of the bereaved and survivors, said that Grenfell was on a ‘must-win project list’ sent by Celotex to its parent company Saint Gobain.
Arconic the US company that made the combustible cladding panels also targeted Grenfell Tower as part of its efforts to double sales in the UK in 2014.
Barwise said that ‘Armed with the knowledge that its product was at best class E (combustible) and increasingly could not be sold in other markets, Arconic set out to increase sales in the UK market and win the Grenfell Tower project.’
Sam Stein QC, representing bereaved and survivors, said: ‘Those companies involved killed when they criminally failed to consider the safety of others.’
He added: ‘They killed when they promoted their unsuitable dangerous products in the pursuit of money and they killed when they entirely ignored their ultimate clients, the people of Grenfell Tower. They knew they were literally playing with fire.’