Monday 11 December 2017

Grenfell victim Isaac (5) choked to death on fumes from blaze, inquest hears

Isaac Paulos (5), one of the youngest victims of the fire.
Isaac Paulos (5), one of the youngest victims of the fire.

David Wilcock in London

One of the youngest victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy choked to death on fumes from the fire, an inquest has heard.

The body of five-year-old Isaac Paulos, who lived with his family on the 18th floor, was found on the 13th floor, Westminster Coroner's Court was told.

The youngster, who vanished in the dense fumes as his family attempted to escape the blaze, had to be identified by his dental records.

Westminster coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox opened and adjourned the inquests of four people including Isaac yesterday.

Coroner's officer Eric Sword told the short hearing that Isaac's preliminary cause of death had been given as "inhalation of fire fumes".

Dr Wilcox told the court she had met with his parents and passed on her condolences to them.

She added that 18 of the at least 79 victims had so far been formally identified.

Dr Wilcox said the investigation was extremely challenging.

She continued: "I have now formally identified 18 people who have died within this tower block and the tragic fire incident.

"There are many outstanding identifications still to come.

"It can't really be explained in enough detail how complex an investigation this is in terms of identification and in terms of recovery of bodies on a dangerous site that my team are not allowed to enter because the building is being shored up."

The other three victims whose inquests were opened included artist Khadija Saye (24).

The artist, hailed as a "wonderful young woman" by Tottenham MP David Lammy, was due to appear on a BBC documentary about her work, which was on show in Venice as part of a collection on the theme of diaspora.


The inquest heard that Ms Saye, also known as Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye, was found in a hallway on the ninth floor, 11 floors below her 20th floor home.

The hearing was told her preliminary cause of death was "inhalation of fire fumes and burns".

The inquest of her mother, Mary Ajaoi Augustus Mendy, was also opened.

The body of Ms Mendy (54), also known as Sissy Mendy, was found on the 13th floor.

Her provisional cause of death was "fire fumes, pending further investigation", Mr Sword told the inquest.

She was also identified via dental records.

In a family statement released by Scotland Yard yesterday, Ms Mendy's sister Betty Jackson said: "My beloved sister, words can never describe the pain of losing you.

"I can't believe you are gone. You were a wonderful sister, an incredible aunt, the best mother any child could have wished for.

"You were an amazing friend to all those who knew you.

"Your heart was pure, your soul was one of a kind. You will be missed for a lifetime. You will remain forever in our hearts, you and your beautiful daughter Khadija Saye. From your sister, brothers, nieces and nephews."

The fourth inquest was that of Mohamednur Tuccu (44), whose body was recovered from close to the nearby leisure centre.

He had been reported missing along with his wife Amalahmedin and his three-year-old daughter after visiting relatives in Grenfell Tower, his employer had previously said.

His provisional cause of death was also inhalation of fire fumes.

Irish Independent

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