The Deputy Inner South London coroner has appointed Mr Justice Thayne Forbes to conduct the inquest into the death of the 6 people in the fire at Lakanal House in July this year. Mr Justice Thayne Forbes is a highly respected senior member of the judiciary who conducted the inquests into the deaths of those who were murdered by the GP, Dr Harold Shipman.
I welcome this appointment. This is going to be a very important and challenging task which is going to mean everything to the bereaved families so much to the local community. I am pleased that such a senior and well respected judge has been appointed to take on this task.
This inquest will look at what caused the fire, why it spread, why some people were not rescued while others were able to escape, and he will make findings that will be important for the future not just for housing design, building and refurbishment but also for the fire and rescue services. The facts will be made clear so that lessons can be learnt.
I have written to Mr Justice Forbes urging him to hold the inquest in Southwark Town Hall so that it is easily accessible for local people. Many people from the local area will want to attend the inquest. I have also asked him to call for the views of the local community, as well as for the evidence of the council, the police and the fire service.