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Church leader questions Grenfell death toll

Thu 16 Nov 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

A church leader who has worked closely with survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire has questioned the validity of the final death toll.

Metropolitan Police confirmed on Thursday that 71 people, including a stillborn baby, make up the final death toll in the Grenfell Tower fire.

Police said all those who died in the blaze in west London five months ago have been recovered and identified.

However, Pastor Derek Wilson from Tabernacle Christian Centre told Premier's News Hour he thinks the actual figure is higher.

He said: "To say there are only 71, I can agree that is what they have identified but what about those that are still unidentified, where there are no DNA records and dental records?

"That it is the question that must be asked."

Wilson added that a lot of survivors were upset when they heard the final death toll.

Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

 

In June, police indicated the figure would be at least 80, a number disputed as too low by some people, who claimed a cover-up by authorities and the media.

Campaign group Justice4Grenfell even set up its own unofficial database cataloguing the victims of the fire.

In disclosing the final death toll on Thursday, Scotland Yard explained that a number of factors contributed to the figure being less than 80.

Police received multiple missing persons reports, some under different names, and undertook the enormous task of locating some people thought to have been in the building who were actually elsewhere at the time.

Footage examined by police showed that 223 people escaped the blaze.

Officers are also dealing with eight cases of fraud in relation to the disaster, including one man who claimed his wife and son died in the blaze.

Another woman is accused of falsely claiming her husband died in the fire, and obtaining more than £10,000 in funds allocated for survivors.

Local Labour MP Emma Dent Coad said she has "every confidence" in the final death toll, praising police for doing an "incredibly thorough job".

She said: "There were rumours circulating soon after the fire challenging early estimates of deceased and missing.

"However, the police have done an incredibly thorough job, in addition to the difficult forensic work with fire service teams, of cross-referencing everyone reported missing."

Listen to Derek Wilson speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun here:


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