‘I want to die so I can see my father in heaven’ says son of Grenfell victim

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The entire room was reduced to tears on the third day of the Grenfell Tower inquiry as the son of one of the victims spoke of wanting to die so he could join his father in heaven.

Hamid Ali Jafari, whose father Ali Yawar Jafari, 82, was killed in the June 14 blaze, said he prayed every day for death so he could see his elderly dad once more.

Calling him his ‘hero’, Hamid said he sometimes felt his father’s soul present when he held his own son.

Speaking quietly, the distress clear to see, he said: ‘I have never dreamed or thought of going to heaven but now I fight every day, every second, because I want to join my dad.

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‘And I pray every day – and even I request my friends to pray for me – that I die soon to meet my father.’

Mr Jafari was pulled from Grenfell Tower by firefighters after losing with his family but was pronounced dead at the scene after inhaling the fire’s fumes.

The grandfather was described as a kind man and husband who loved animals and travelling.

In a video tribute to his dad, Hamid said: ‘I think the happiest moment he had was when my son was born, because he was attached to him a lot.

‘Both of them were connected to each other so sometimes when I see my son I feel like my dad’s soul came in my son.’

Tributes were also paid to three other victims at the inquiry at the Millennium Gloucester hotel in South Kensington, London, today.

Zainab Deen, 32, and her two-year-old son Jeremiah, were found at each other’s side on the 14th floor of the tower.

In a statement read by Michael Mansfield QC, their family said they could not find a reason ‘why such a handsome and cheerful boy was taken from us at the age of two’.

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They said: ‘Throughout your short time here on Earth you were so connected with your mother that even death cannot separate you both.’

Anthony Disson, known as Tony, was also remembered in a video in which his children Harry, Alfie and Charlie said he was a proud father who loved encouraging their passion for boxing.

The 65-year-old doted on his grandchildren, including a baby girl who was named after him.

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Son Alfie said in a video recorded message: ‘If he was here now he’d be over the moon at what we called her.’

Gary Maunders, 57, was found on the top floor of the tower block.

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His nieces, Chanel and Kenita Spence, quietly cried at the front of the room as a video featuring their voices was played to the inquiry.

The pair said their uncle was a talented footballer in his younger years who had the chance of becoming professional when he was scouted by Arsenal.

Instead, he became a painter and decorator, but they recalled he would teach them how to play the game – sometimes even in the kitchen.

The loyal Manchester United fan who supported his team through their highs and lows ‘would want to have the Manchester United song played at his funeral and he would want to be dressed in the entire kit, scarf and everything,’ they said.

‘And that is exactly what we as a family did for him.’

Marjorie Vital, 68, and her son Ernie, 50, lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower in flat 162.

Their bodies were found fused together on the 23rd floor, her surviving son, whose name was not given, said in a film shown to the room.

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As footage showing the charred wreckage of a former flat in the building, he said he had imagined his brother practically carrying his mother to the top floor when it became clear no other escape route was possible.

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‘There’s a sense of security in that last moment, knowing you’re not alone. We now have the evidence that their bodies were fused together in the intensity of the fire.

‘It reminded me, as a child growing up he was constantly in my mother’s arms and it symbolised to me their level of closeness that they had, that umbilical cord, that my brother still relatively had intact.

‘And the point of them dying like that, it became an advantage, the fact that they were still closely linked together in that way, mother and child.’

The inquiry will continue tomorrow at 10am.

Today’s emotional testimonies follow turbulent scenes on Tuesday, when footage of the tower engulfed in flames was broadcast as part of a commemoration without anyone being warned beforehand.

Bernard Richmond QC apologised for the mistake, which led to people fleeing the room in tears and a woman collapsing.

On Wednesday morning, sheets of paper were placed on seats warning attendees when there may be ‘particularly upsetting’ content.

Several further commemorations will include footage of the tower on fire and of its interior after the blaze.

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