Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Mother and son's bodies found 'fused together' after fire

23 May 2018, 17:26

The son and brother of two Grenfell Tower fire victims has told how his mother and sibling were found fused together in the bathroom of their flat.

Family members bravely took the stage to remember the people they lost, during the third day of the inquiry into the tragedy.

"There's some comfort in knowing they were together," the son said, as he talked about his mother Marjorie Vital and his 50-year-old brother Ernie, who lived on the 16th floor.

He didn't want to be identified.

Bernard Richmond QC said it was a "skilled and powerful statement by the surviving son of Marjorie who doesn't wish to be present or to speak".

He added: "The work he has prepared has come from his heart and says everything he wants to say."

The day's hearing was prefaced with warnings that people could become very distressed by what they were about to hear.

The video tribute to Marjorie and Ernie was given an even stronger warning, and people were given the opportunity to leave the room - many did.

It showed images from inside the burnt tower, including the bathroom where their bodies were found, and footage of their ashes being scattered at sea.

There were tears and hugs of comfort during extremely distressing descriptions of the tragedy, as some family members broke down.

Mother-of-two Rania Ibrahim, 30, lived on the 23rd floor with her husband and her two daughters - Fethia, aged four, and three-year-old Hania.

Her husband was away at the time of the fire and Rania died with her children.

Her family paid tribute to the three of them.

"I have no doubt that if she had survived, Rania would have been at the forefront of the fight for justice," the family said.

There was applause and tears when their video ended.

The head of the inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, said: "That was a profoundly moving tribute."

The inquiry also heard from the family of Ali Yawar Jafari, 82, who died on the 10th floor.

His family spoke about how they came to the UK to escape the war in Afghanistan and have a better life.

His son, Hamid Ali Jafari, talked about how they washed his father, an Islamic tradition following the death of a loved one.

"I hope God doesn't show anyone the day that I saw," he said.

Mr Jafari's wife said a couple approached her the next day to say how sorry they were, and that her husband had given them holy water and dates from Mecca after he heard their son had cancer.

"He didn't even know us but he helped us," they told her.

The inquiry also heard from the family of Anthony Disson, a 65-year-old retired lorry driver who lived on the 10th floor.

A letter from his son, Lee, who couldn't attend, was read out by Michael Mansfield QC.

In it, he said: "I hoped he'd got out.

"Or that he wasn't home that night... he wasn't just my dad. We were best mates."

Anthony's second wife Cordelia also paid tribute with their three sons, who said he was a great father.

Cordelia called him her first love, and then, "my last love".

Zainab Deen, 32, and her two-year-old son Jeremiah, had lived on the 14th floor.

Zainab's mother and father were present at the hearing as her father's tributes were read out.

He called his daughter beautiful and caring, saying she was taken too soon.

Remembering Jeremiah, he said: "We cannot dwell on the sadness or keep asking why this happened to our family.

"Neither can we find a reason why he was taken from us.

"Instead we will focus on how happy he made us.

"Sleep. Take your rest. All our love, granddad."

There were tears and applause at the end of his statement.

Also remembered on Wednesday was Gary Maunders, 57, who lived on the 23rd floor.

Michael Mansfield QC spoke on behalf of Ana Pumar, Gary's former partner and mother of his two children.

Her statement said: "Our children have been left with a huge part of their lives missing.

"Milestones will be reached without having their father present, which is heartbreaking for us.

"We all hope that Gary is at peace, but he will live on in our hearts and minds, and will never be forgotten."

Gary's nieces Chanel and Kenita took the stage as a video they made of their uncle Gary was played.

Reaching for tissues and visibly distraught, they sat as their voices played over their tribute video.

"He loved to make people laugh. He used to let us stay up past bedtime. His favourite artist was Marvin Gaye," they said.

What's Going On by Marvin Gaye accompanied the pictures of them with their uncle.

"Our uncle was not a resident of Grenfell Tower. But he was staying at his friend's house on that tragic night," they said.

They wiped away tears, occasionally laughing at the fond memories that played on the screen.

At the end of their tribute, they left the room.

They wore t-shirts with Gary's face on.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is an independent public inquiry set up to examine the events leading up to the fire.

The tragedy on 14 June 2017 claimed 72 lives.

A fourth commemoration hearing will begin on Thursday at 10am.