MARKING four-and-a-half years since the horrific Grenfell Tower fire on June 14, 2017, survivors and campaigners are demanding police accelerate their criminal investigation into the disaster so prosecutors can bring charges immediately, as enough evidence has emerged to deliver justice for their 72 loved ones.
Yesterday they launched a “#chargesnow” campaign with billboards across the country, a protest outside Kensington and Chelsea town hall, and a statement on behalf of dozens of families that reads: ‘We’ve been patient, we’ve stayed dignified but we’ve waited too long. Today we say enough is enough. We demand charges.’
The push represents a change in gear for the Grenfell United families group but will be resisted by Scotland Yard, which insists it must wait for the findings of the public inquiry – which is not expected until late next year at the earliest.
In October 2020, police investigating the disaster arrested an unnamed 38-year-old man in Sussex on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
He remains released under investigation.
Detectives have also interviewed several people under caution relating to gross negligence manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences.
A Grenfell United spokesperson said: ‘For four and a half years we’ve suffered knowing Grenfell was no accident, but now we have the evidence.
‘Our justice was delayed to ensure that lessons were learned and people are safe in their homes – the evidence has been laid bare. Millions of documents have been uncovered.’
The inquiry has already heard that in 2013 executives at Celotex, which made most of the insulation on the tower, had known that ‘in the event of a fire (its insulation) would burn’.
In 2007, tests by Kingspan on a new formula of foam boards that were later used at Grenfell caused ‘a raging inferno’.
But the company kept using test results from an earlier version to market the product. And in 2009, an Arconic executive shared images of a burning tower fitted with similar panels to those it sold to Grenfell ‘to show you how dangerous PE (polyethylene) can be when it comes to architecture’.
Ed Daffarn, a leading member of the Grenfell Action Group who escaped from the 16th floor on 14 June 2017, said: ‘If the experience of Hillsborough is to mean anything, the Grenfell community should not be made to wait 28 years for justice.’