Friday 24 January 2020

New inquest to focus on air pollution in death of girl

Nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah who suffered a fatal asthma attack. Photo: PA
Nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah who suffered a fatal asthma attack. Photo: PA

Emma Bowden

A fresh inquest into the death of a nine-year-old girl who suffered a fatal asthma attack will examine the role of the UK government as it looks at whether pollution "caused or contributed" to her death.

Ella Kissi-Debrah died in London in February 2013 after three years of seizures and 27 visits to hospital for breathing issues. An inquest in 2014, which focused on her medical care and ruled she died of "acute respiratory failure", was quashed by High Court judges in light of new evidence regarding air pollution levels.

A provisional ruling was made at Southwark Coroners' Court for it to be a "full" inquest under Article 2 - the right to life - of the Human Rights Act, which scrutinises the role of public bodies in a death.

Ella lived 25 metres from the South Circular Road in Lewisham, one of the city's busiest roads.

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