Tuesday 26 September 2017

Grenfell Tower fire: Volunteer beaten at protest after being mistaken for CEO of company responsible for building

Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
The burnt out remains of the Grenfell apartment tower are seen in North Kensington, London. Photo: REUTERS/Neil Hall
Extensive damage is seen to the Grenfell Tower block which was destroyed in a disastrous fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Emergency services personnel on top of Grenfell Tower in west London. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire
GRIM TASK: Members of the emergency services work on the middle floors of the charred remains of the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington, west London, following the devastating fire. Photo: Tolga Akmen/Getty
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A demonstrator reacts during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Demonstrators sit in the road in the West End during a protest following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Caroline Mortimer

A volunteer helping the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire was beaten up at the protest in Kensington Town Hall after being mistaken for the CEO of the management company responsible for the tower, his wife has said.

At least 58 people are believed to have died in the fire that started on the fourth floor of the 24-storey tower in the early hours of Wednesday morning, before engulfing the rest of the building.

Kensington and Chelsea Council have been criticised for their slow response to helping the around 400-600 families who lost their homes in the blaze as well as failing to provide adequate support or information about missing loved ones.

It also emerged that they had been repeatedly warned about the danger of “cost cutting” during the renovation of the tower in 2016, which saw the installation of the flammable, plastic-based cladding panels to improve the look of the building and provide more insulation.

After days of poor communication, tensions rose at a demonstration by Grenfell residents and supporters on Friday when angry protesters stormed Kensington Town Hall demanding justice.

Robert Outram, 56, who had spent much of the last week volunteering at various shelters to help the victims,walked into the building at the time of the incident, where he was set upon because he looked like Robert Black – the CEO of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) responsible for managing the building.

He said he and a colleague were attacked by a group of protesters after one shouted: “It’s them two [sic]”.

Mr Outram’s wife, Angela, told the Daily Telegraph: “He got a big bang on the head, he was thumped, he’s been left with a lump on the side of his head. He was really shaken up by it all.

“He had nothing to do with any of this. In fact, he’s been volunteering to help the victims.

“The council didn’t warn anyone about this protest. His picture is online with the wrong name attached to it.”

The protest occurred as Theresa May was visiting a small church in Notting Hill to meet victims.

A group of demonstrators appeared outside and demanded the Prime Minister come out to speak to them. She eventually left around 20 minutes later from a side door while the crowd chanted “coward”.

Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Kensington, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Kensington, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators clash with police officers during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers protect the entrance to the BBC building during a protest in central London following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Police officers stand in front of the The Grenfell Tower block that was destroyed by fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Kensington, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers block the entrance to Downing Street during a march through Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators hold up banners during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A demonstrator reacts during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators shout during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Two demonstrators fight with each other during a protest in the West End, following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Protesters walk down Ladbroke Grove in west London demanding answers over the Grenfell Tower disaster. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Protesters march towards The Grenfell Tower block that was destroyed by fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Demonstrators sit in the road in the West End, during a protest following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Demonstrators sit in the road in the West End during a protest following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Graffiti is seen on the pavement during a protest in central London following the fire that destroyed The Grenfell Tower block, in north Kensington, West London, Britain June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
A woman looks at posters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
A man looks at tributes close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Flowers and tributes close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Protesters close to Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in World News