Triplets (2) killed in mall blaze tragedy

Nick Perry

THE grandmother of two-year-old triplets killed in a fire in a shopping mall in Qatar has spoken of her grief.

Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes were among 13 children killed in yesterday's blaze.

"Our daughter rang. What can you say? It's absolutely devastating," Jo Turner said.

The triplets' parents, Jane and Martin Weekes, previously lived in Wellington and today New Zealand Prime Minister John Key offered them his condolences.

"Obviously it's a very tragic day for that family and my thoughts are with them during this difficult time," Mr Key said.


In all, 19 people died in the fire that broke out late yesterday morning in the Villaggio mall in the Qatar capital of Doha. At least some of the victims died as rescuers struggled to reach a child care centre at the mall.

Mrs Turner said her daughter had lived in Qatar for about five years, although she had returned to New Zealand to give birth to the triplets.

"They were everything to her. She was a great mum. She was a hands-on mum," Mrs Turner said. "I didn't push her for any information. She just told us what she needed to tell us. It was just that 'our babies, they died in a fire at the day care centre'."

Mr Weekes is thought to work as a senior adviser at Qatar Media Services and was a former chief executive of Auckland's Eden Park sports stadium.

The blaze has raised questions about building safety in the booming Gulf state.

Minister of State for Interior Affairs, Sheik Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani, said: "We tried our best, but when we got there, the children were trapped inside. We are very sorry for what happened. We tried as much as we could to save these people."