News World London authorities under suspicion for corporate manslaughter over Grenfell fire

London authorities under suspicion for corporate manslaughter over Grenfell fire

west London fire
At least 80 people died in the blaze at Grenfell Tower in June Photo: Twitter
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London officials are under suspicion for corporate manslaughter after at least 80 people died when a fire tore through a public housing block.

The Metropolitan Police force said on Thursday they have “reasonable grounds” to suspect officials over the deadly June blaze.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Association have been officially informed they are under suspicion.

The news came in a letter from police to Grenfell Tower residents. The force confirmed to the Association Press that the letter is genuine.

At least 80 people died when fire ripped through the public housing high-rise on June 14.

Police have said for weeks their investigation will consider whether anyone should be charged with a crime.

The force said it was “considering the full range of offences from corporate manslaughter to regulatory breaches”.

“Alongside the recovery operation in Grenfell Tower to find, recover and identify all those that died, we are conducting one of the largest criminal investigations outside of counter terrorism operations,” Metropolitan Police said in the letter to residents.

Grenfell Tower London
A burned flat inside the Grenfell Tower, London. Photo: AP

Organisations guilty of corporate manslaughter face an “unlimited fine”. The offence does not carry a jail sentence.

Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, whose friend died in the fire, called for harsher charges and penalties.

“I am pleased that justice for Grenfell victims and families is being taken seriously by the Metropolitan Police and the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service],” Mr Lammy said in a statement.

“But the punishment for corporate manslaughter is a fine. A fine would not represent justice for the Grenfell victims and their families.

“Gross negligence manslaughter carries a punishment of prison time, and I hope that the police and the CPS are considering charges of manslaughter caused by gross negligence.”

The letter from Metropolitan Police did not rule out other charges, and did not rule out other organisations or individuals connected to Grenfell.

Newly elected council leader Elizabeth Campbell said Kensington and Chelsea Council would cooperate with the investigation.

“Our residents deserve answers about the Grenfell Tower fire and the police investigation will provide these. We fully support the Metropolitan Police investigation and we will cooperate in every way we can,” Cr Campbell said in a statement.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further on matters subject to the police investigation.”

Grenfell residents and supporters booed Cr Campbell earlier this month at a public meeting.

Residents complained of fire safety concerns in the years before the blaze on an action group blog page.

-with agencies

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