Grenfell Tower fire destroyed my trust in Britain, says sister of refugee killed

The sister of a refugee who died in Grenfell Tower has told an inquiry that her trust in Britain was destroyed by the fire.

Fathia Ali Ahmed Elsanosi, 73, was found on the 23rd floor alongside her children Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Isra Ibrahim, 33.

The public inquiry into the tragedy was told that the mother-of-two had fled persecution in Sudan and set up a new home in west London.

Her sister Hayat Elsanosi said in a statement read through a friend on Thursday afternoon: "Fathia came to this country as a refugee seeking security and safety after her struggle with the regime in Sudan, where she and her children had been subjected to harassment.

"She felt safe here in London. Because of the way she died, this now feels like a illusion for us and definitely for her.

"Our trust in this country has been destroyed. I cannot begin to describe my life without my sister, her death was a terrible shock for me and I find it very difficult to cope without her."

The grieving sibling said she had been injured by fire as a teenager, making the manner in which her sister died all the harder to bear.

It was the fourth day of commemorations for victims at the public inquiry, which is due to begin public evidence sessions in the coming weeks.

Earlier, it was heard how a mother, Amal Ahmedin, 35, cradled her three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin as flames devoured Grenfell Tower on June 14, trying in vain to "squeeze the nightmare away".

Amal Ahmedin and her three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, who died in the fire, alongside husband Mohamednur Tuccu (Grenfell Tower Inquiry/PA)
Amal Ahmedin and her three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, who died in the fire, alongside husband Mohamednur Tuccu (Grenfell Tower Inquiry/PA)

Her husband Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, was found dead outside its wreckage, while cousin Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, was cruelly caught up in the tragedy during a visit.

Their grim fate was rued by relatives during a tearful morning of tributes.

Ms Ahmedin's sister Feruza Afewerki said nearly a year on she "still hadn't been able to make sense of the senseless deaths of innocent and precious lives".

She told the hearing: "Those we grew up with, who shared our fondest memories with, celebrated and mourned, have had their lives stolen from them while the whole of London watched.

"It has been completely surreal and the most painful and devastating time of our lives."

Her other sister, Winter, fought through tears as she paid tribute to the lost family.

Mother and daughter were found next to each other on the 23rd floor, while the body of Mr Tuccu was recovered close to the nearby leisure centre.

She described how her sister, with whom she shared a bedroom when they were children, used to hold her tightly to "squeeze the nightmares away".

She said: "I would hold her (Amaya) tight just like Amal did to me when I was a kid. And that's where they were when they were burned alive, holding each other tight trying to squeeze the nightmare away."

Ms Idris had the terrible fortune of visiting the tower on the night it was destroyed by the worst fire to hit Britain since the Second World War.

Her husband Ibrahim told the hearing: "She came to live with me in the UK in March 2016. After one year I lost her forever."

A man who lost five relatives in the fire said he was "extremely proud" his siblings did not abandon their frail parents in the blaze.

Kamru Miah, 79, Rabeya Begum, 64, Mohammed Hamid, 28, Mohammed Hanif, 26 and Husna Begum, 22, were found on the 17th floor.

Mohammed Hakim said: "I can say with my hand on my heart that I am extremely proud of my family remaining close to each other in their last moments before passing away.

"I am even more proud as a brother that my siblings did not leave my parents behind, even though they might have had the chance to escape."

Mother and daughter Victoria King and Alexandra Atala were also remembered on Thursday.

Sister Penny Pearce said in a statement: "They were, and are, still together and that is what is important. The fire is a tragedy for all of us."

Personal portraits of the 72 victims are expected to continue until next Wednesday at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, South Kensington.