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Lakanal Fire’s ‘big questions’ can be asked
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Hopes that an inquest into the deaths of six people in a tower block fire would be brought forward have been dashed.
Parents and relatives of the six people who died in the Lakanal House blaze – including three children – will have to wait until January 14 for the inquest to begin.
Helen and Michelle Udoaka, Dayana, Thais and Filipe Francisquini and Catherine Hickman died in the fire caused by a faulty TV spread through the ninth floor of the 12-storey tower on the Sceaux Gardens Estate in Camberwell on July 3, 2009.
The families of the victims had been hoping that the inquest into their deaths would be heard this year.
But, at a pre-inquest hearing at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton Hill on Monday, Judge Frances Kirkham ruled that the date could not be brought forward due to the amount of legal work that needed to be done first.
It is expected that the inquest will conclude by Easter next year.
Last month, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Southwark council over the deaths.
Camberwell MP Harriet Harman, who was at Monday’s hearing, said: “It’s deplorable that it’s taken so long for the inquest to be heard.
“Now the important thing is for the inquest to answer the very big questions. “Why did the fire spread when the building’s design is for fires to be contained in flats? Why, when the fire did spread, did the emergency services’ instructions remain to tell people to stay in their homes rather than trying to get out of the block?
“If those people who lost their lives had left their homes, would they have lived?”
All content © of South London Press unless stated otherwise.
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