Judge’s visit ‘dis­re­spect­ful’, say un­in­vited fire sur­vivors

Cou­ple liv­ing like ‘refugees’ have big reser­va­tions over public in­quiry, af­ter meet­ing snub

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - Jack hardy

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.”

Pic­ture: PA.

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.

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