TRAGEDY: The Grenfell blaze killed at least 71 people


THE criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire in London, which killed at least 71 people, is “unprecedented”, a police spokesman said on Monday (11) at the opening of a public inquiry into the blaze.

“Outside certain counter-terrorism inquiries, the in­vestigation is unprecedented in terms of its scale and com­plexity,” Jeremy Johnson, a lawyer for London’s Metro­politan Police, said.

Johnson said the police were examining possible of­fences of manslaughter, cor­porate manslaughter, mis­conduct in public office and fire safety breaches.

The investigation into the west London blaze involves a team of 187 police officers and civilian staff and has so far taken statements from 1,144 witnesses, he added.

“Nothing has been exclud­ed from the scope of the criminal investigation,” he said, promising a “meticulous, thorough and fearless” probe.

Scotland Yard said last month that 71 people had died, including a stillborn baby. Police said they were hoping to wrap up their in­vestigation in late 2018.

The public inquiry, which is expected to produce fire safety recommendations in public housing, will run along­side the police investigation.

Survivors and people who lived in the vicinity of the apartment block have al­ready criticised the inquiry, however, saying they are not sufficiently involved.

Monday’s hearing ruled that 424 individuals or groups, including some survivors, would be granted “core par­ticipant” status in the inquiry, meaning that they would have access to documents, can make statements and can question witnesses through legal representatives.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, a non-departmental public body, said it had begun its own in­vestigation that would look at issues that may be “over­looked” by the official inquiry.

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