Judge’s visit ‘disrespectful’, say uninvited fire survivors
Couple living like ‘refugees’ have big reservations over public inquiry, after meeting snub
A couple left homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire have said failure to invite all survivors to a consultation about the public inquiry was “disrespectful”.
Jason Miller and Corinne Jones escaped the 17th floor of the burning block with their two children and have since been living like “refugees” in emergency accommodation.
Yesterday, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the judge leading the forthcoming probe, met a handful of residents to discuss the investigation.
Many who lived in Grenfell Tower were unaware of the meeting and few had confidence in the outcome of the inquiry, Mr Miller said.
The 37-year-old told the Press Association: “The first we heard about the meeting was when my partner spoke to someone from a law firm, who said the judge would be visiting the tower and she asked fellow residents if they knew that and no one knew about it.
“Not being aware, as residents of the tower, we found that a bit disrespectful.
“We have reservations about the judge as well and previous cases he has presided over because it has related to people in social housing.”
Controversy about Sir Martin’s appointment to the role began brewing when it emerged he had ruled a motherof-five had to move 50 miles away from her home in 2014.
“Hearing that was like salt in the wounds,” Mr Miller said.
“I have not been confident about the outcome of this. A lot of people from the tower have concerns about the transparency and integrity of it.”
After meeting residents earlier in the day, the judge said he was “doubtful” all of their concerns could be addressed by his inquiry.
Responding to his comments, Mr Miller said: “That goes against what the Prime Minister has said, that it would ‘leave no stone unturned’.”
On the night their home was ravaged by fire, Mr Miller had received a call from his partner as she escaped from the building.
“I was outside the building, I had just got back from my mum’s and my partner called me and told me the building was on fire, which didn’t really penetrate,” Mr Miller said.
Ms Jones, who was marking her 32nd birthday yesterday, added: “I came out just before 1am. When I came out one side of the building was on fire.”
Since then, the family have been living in a hotel and unable to begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
Mr Miller said: “It has been very stressful. We cannot purchase new items like kids’ bunk beds and the trauma has been extended because we cannot really grieve.
“We are out every day just getting items such as driving licences and passports. “We feel like refugees at the moment.” His partner added they simply wanted to “go back home”, saying: “We will never be able to sit back in our front room. We just want a permanent house.”
Retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who will lead the Grenfell Tower fire public inquiry, leaving St Clement’s Church near to the tower block in London.