TRAGEDY: The Grenfell blaze killed at least 71 people

SURVIVORS UNHAPPY DESPITE ‘METICULOUS’ PROBE PROMISE

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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