1 Feb 2018

Police apologise after Grenfell victim’s bone found in washing machine

The police have apologised after a bone fragment belonging to a victim of the Grenfell fire was found in a washing machine, when police sent his clothes for cleaning.

The family of Mohamed Saber Neda who jumped from the tower block, has told Channel 4 News how they believed they’d already laid him to rest, but have had to bury him for the second time.

A few weeks ago, the family received a phone call from the police, saying a part of Mr Neda’s body had been found. The family wanted to bury it inside his grave and ended up holding a second funeral.

Mr Neda’s wife Flora and her son Farhad, were the only residents to make it out of the 23rd floor – the very top of Grenfell tower.

Seven months on and this new trauma has unearthed wounds that were only just starting to heal. She told the programme: “After six months, they start cleaning, they found one piece of his bone in the washing machine. I’m angry with that. We are angry. Why didn’t they check proper? Why did it take so long? Even the police aren’t getting the answer for me.”

“This time is more difficult from the first time, it is more difficult, we did again. The ceremony… reburied, everything. And I told my son now we have to accept your dad is not coming anymore.”

Controversy has long raged over the death toll of the Grenfell fire and how police handled the scene. The police say it is among the most complex investigations they’ve ever dealt with and that they’ve put families of the dead at the heart of it.

But Flora and her family’s traumatic experience, once again raises questions about how victims were recovered. She can’t understand how a fragment of her husband’s body was found in a washing machine, when police sent his clothes for cleaning.

She told Channel 4 News that the police said to her: “‘I’m sorry, it’s the first time it has happened for us as well but I’m sorry to tell you we don’t know about that … how this happened.’”

The Metropolitan Police has told Channel 4 News an external cleaning company discovered the bone and the post-mortem did not identify any part of his body was missing. They said they have apologised to the family and fully explained the process to them.

Final voicemail

In the interview to be broadcast tonight (Thursday), Flora tells Channel 4 News that she takes comfort in the fact that her husband spent his last moments trying to assist his neighbours.

“I’m proud of him, he helped people and he died because he wanted to help more people.”

In the moments before he died, Mr Neda left his family a final goodbye message.

His wife tells the programme that she has only just found the strength to listen to it herself. She has asked Channel 4 News to broadcast it because she is so proud of his bravery and believes it demonstrates his courage, even when faced with the worst possible choice.

Mohamed Saber Neda voicemail: (translated from Dari)

“Goodbye, I am leaving this world, goodbye. I hope you won’t be in pain. Goodbye everyone.”

Watch the full report below: