Grenfell left in tears as shocking footage shown without warning during inquiry

Traumatised Grenfell Tower survivors fled the public inquiry in tears yesterday after harrowing footage of the inferno was played without warning.

Video showing a victim pleading for help from the 23rd floor and shots of the high-rise fully ablaze proved too much for many in the room.

Around 20 people walked out and at least one woman had to be treated by paramedics after collapsing in the area outside the hearing room.

Bernard Richmond QC had promised at the start of both days of the inquiry there would be a warning ahead of any disturbing footage.

But he forgot, saying changes in the schedule made him misplace notes to remind him.

Apologising after a break, Mr Richmond said: “This has been a very busy day. We’ve had a number of technical difficulties to sort out. I said at the start there would be distressing images. I have a system to make sure there are warnings.

“Sadly, because of things being moved around, my notes got moved. I should have mentioned again there were images in this room. And for that I’m truly sorry.”

The footage was in a film played as part of tributes to the Choucair family, who lost six members and three generations in last June’s blaze.

In heartbreaking testimony, the hearing was told how Zaynab Choucair, three, died alongside sisters Fatima, 11, and Mierna, 13, and mother Nadia, father Bassem and grandmother Sirria.

Nadia and Bassem lived on floor 22, with Sirria next door. Nadia’s sister Sawson and brother Hasim described the horror of losing half of their family in one night.

Hasim said he ran to the building with his children after getting a phone call about the fire.

He said: “I found the building completely engulfed in flames. We had to stand there for hours, helpless, watching them all burn to death.

“It was five months before we were able to bury them. We took them to a village [in Lebanon] where my family are from.

“It was my mother’s wish to be buried next to my father.”

Hasim added that he feels part of him has been taken away and described getting flashbacks whenever he looked at the tower.

“This inferno has split up families and smashed up their lives,” he said.

“None of the counselling I have received can ever repair what has been done.”

A statement read on Sawson’s behalf told of how she saw her nieces as her own children.

She said: “Everything has been taken away from me. This should not have happened. We do not want excuses. We demand justice for every single family. We are broken.”

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