'This is truly horrific,' says Awaab Ishak lawyer as he cites racism a contributing factor in death

16 November 2022, 10:57 | Updated: 16 November 2022, 11:05

Nick Ferrari rages in response to news of two-year-old's death

Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

Amid national outrage following the inquest revelation that two-year old Awaab Ishak had died after exposure to mould, the barrister of the Ishak family spoke to LBC to explain he believes racism could have been at play in the family's neglect and Awaab's tragic death.

"This is truly horrific," Mr Weaver told LBC's Nick Ferrari.

"This is certainly one of the most grave cases [that any lawyer could speak on]".

In his exchange with Nick, the barrister specialising in human rights and inquests raised that the Ishak family had continuously asked the Rochdale Boroughwide Housing association to address the sinister mould growing in their home.

"Complaints had been made since 2017," said Mr Weaver.

"Even a health visitor went round [to the Ishak home] and wrote a letter to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing [about the extensive mould], but nothing was done".

Outraged by the inquest revelation, Nick Ferrari probed Mr Weaver as to whether he cites racism a contributing factor in Rochdale Boroughwide Housing's neglect of the Ishak family and their case.

"The family are from Sudan," said Mr Weaver.

"At first, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing said that [the cause of the mould] was due to the ritual bathing practices of the family, or the cooking practices that are common among some cultures, all with no evidence".

While Mr Weaver was hesitant to employ specific words, he told Nick Ferrari that he believed that "it's quite clear" and that the "facts of the matter" speak for themselves.

By that, he meant that even though the coroner had stated that there was "no evidence of excessive behaviour" within the Ishak household, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing had chosen to blame the mould on "cooking practices" and "bathing rituals".

"It has been revealed in the inquest that the family were doing nothing of excess," said Mr Weaver.

Awaab Ishak was killed by the mould in his flat.
Awaab Ishak was killed by the mould in his flat. Picture: Family handout

The boy's parents Faisal Abdullah and Aisha Amin, said after the ruling: "We have no doubt at all that we were treated this way because we were not from the country, and less aware of how the systems in the UK work".

READ MORE: 'This wouldn’t have happened if we were British': Parents of boy, 2, killed by mould slam 'racist' landlord

The two-year-old died in December 2020, four years after the family first moved into the Rochdale Boroughwide Housing home.

Throughout the Ishak family's years of complaints to the housing association, they were even joined by a midwife and a surveyor at Rochdale Council, who stated that the home was "unfit for human habitation".

Nick Ferrari shared the nation's outrage about the case.

"Everyone involved in this grotesque housing association should hang their heads in shame," he said on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

In an impassioned monologue about Awaab's death, Nick revealed while the Ishak family had been forced to remain in the mould-riddled flat and simply paint over the decay, the chief executive of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing earned an annual salary of £150,000.

Nick Ferrari speak with Christan Weaver on Awaab Ishak inquest verdict

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