Friday 18 August 2017

First victim of Grenfell Tower fire formally identified as 58 people still missing and presumed dead - Police

At least 30 residents of the tower block were killed in the tragedy with dozens still missing
At least 30 residents of the tower block were killed in the tragedy with dozens still missing
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Fifty-eight people are missing and presumed dead in the Grenfell Tower disaster, the officer in charge of the investigation said.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy warned that the death toll could rise further as he formally identified a first victim as 23-year-old Mohammed Alhajali.

Earlier on Saturday Prime Minister Theresa May met victims of the blaze at Downing Street, amid criticism she had not seen them in the immediate wake of the tragedy.

Mr Cundy said: "Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing, and therefore sadly, I have to assume that they are dead."

Commander Stuart Cundy speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard, London
Commander Stuart Cundy speaks to the media outside New Scotland Yard, London

Read More: Hundreds gather at candlelit vigil for Grenfell Tower victims

"That number 58 may change. I really hope it won't, but it may increase.

"Our focus has been on those that we know were in Grenfell Tower. However, there may be other people who were in there on the night that others were not aware were there.

"That is also an absolute priority for the investigation - to establish who they may be," he added.

Mr Cundy also appealed to anyone who may have escaped from the building, but has not yet come forward, to make themselves known.

Of the 58, he said 30 were confirmed dead. 16 bodies have been recovered from the Tower and taken to a mortuary.

Read More:  Irish woman who worked in Grenfell Tower describes 'grim and dingy' conditions

Mr Cundy said the police investigation into the blaze would look at the building and its refurbishment in 2016 and vowed to prosecute people "if there is evidence".

He said: "The investigation is a police investigation. We investigate criminal matters. The investigation will identify any criminal offence that has been committed. It will be wide ranging.

"It will go to establish the answers of what happened in the fire and how it spread, it will look at the building itself, it will look at the refurbishment as well.

"Our criminal investigation will identify any criminal offences that have been committed. Wherever we can, we will bring people to justice if there is evidence. It is completely and wholly inappropriate for me to talk about details of the investigation which may subsequently jeopardise any criminal proceedings."

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