Five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell to death from hotel window in Sheffield named

19 August 2021, 14:34 | Updated: 19 August 2021, 21:39

South Yorkshire Police have appealed for information following the boy's death in what was reported to be a fall from the ninth floor of Sheffield's Metropolitan Hotel
South Yorkshire Police have appealed for information following the boy's death in what was reported to be a fall from the ninth floor of Sheffield's Metropolitan Hotel. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

A five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell to his death from a hotel window in Sheffield has been named by police as Mohammed Munib Majeedi.

The child's family had recently fled the Taliban, who have blitzed their way into power in Afghanistan over the past week.

South Yorkshire Police (SYP) said Mohammed fell from the window of the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel in Blonk Street at around 2:30pm.

The youngster, who is understood to have arrived in the UK with his family this summer, fell on to a car park behind the hotel.

SYP confirmed the boy was from Afghanistan and referred reporters to the Home Office for more details.

Read more: Afghan youth footballer found dead in US plane after attempting to flee Taliban

It said in a statement: "His family have now formally identified him and they are being supported by our family liaison officers. We would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.

"Officers are appealing for anyone with information relating to the incident to come forward."

The Refugee Council has called for a review of the accommodation offered to those fleeing the Taliban following the tragedy.

Witnesses said the boy's father had worked in the British Embassy in Kabul.

One hotel resident, also an interpreter for the British in Afghanistan, said: "I was in my room. I heard a sound, like I heard the body fall.

"His mother was in the room with him. She was screaming, 'My son, my son. When I came here (outside) I saw the ambulance and police here."

He said the family came to the UK three or four weeks ago, landing at Birmingham Airport, then staying in Manchester during quarantine for Covid.

The family, including the parents and three boys and two girls, then moved to the hotel in Sheffield only three or four days ago and the father was regarded as, "the new guy" among Afghans staying there.

The interpreter added: "If the dad is working for the Americans or the English then their lives are in danger in Afghanistan.

"They came here to save their lives, they came for a new life here, but unfortunately..."

He said in his own room the windows will only open a few inches.

The eight to 10 Afghan families staying at the hotel were being moved to another hotel on Thursday afternoon, he said.

The interpreter said he and his own family, a wife and children, were hoping to be rehoused in the UK, after working for the British forces and escaping Afghanistan in July.

His friend, also an Afghan but who came to the UK in 2008, said they could not give their names as their families in Afghanistan could be killed or held to ransom.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: "This a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family who have gone through so much trauma and suffering to reach the UK.

"It is vital the Home Office carry out an urgent investigation into what has happened so steps can be taken to quickly learn lessons."

Councillor Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: "I am absolutely heartbroken that a young boy has lost his life in this way.

"My deepest thoughts are with the family of little Mohammed, I can't begin to imagine what they are going through. As a council we have been at the hotel to offer assistance and, in partnership with the police, will support the family in any way we possibly can.

"While details are still emerging and the police continue to investigate, it's not appropriate for me to comment further, except to say that this is an incredibly sad time."

Any witnesses, or anyone who has information, should call police on 101.