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Grenfell gran: Response has been torture

A TRAUMATISED grandmother who lived in Grenfell Tower compares her treatment by authorities since the deadly blaze to ‘being tortured’ as a political prisoner, her daughter said.

The 66-year-old Eritrean refugee lived on the 23rd floor but was staying with her daughter when 71 people died in the fire in June.

Since then the family say they have been ‘penalised for being alive’ as the woman and her daughter, a former Grenfell resident, were discharged by mental health services for simply saying they were not ready for treatment, but asked for future checks.

The daughter told councillors from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: ‘Because she has faced trauma previously in her life as a political prisoner, (my mother) has compared this experience to being tortured back home. If that is not mental health, I don’t know what is.’ She said her mother has been in a hotel for six months and had been bounced between housing officers and has still not secured suitable accommodation.

The woman became tearful at the meeting at Notting Hill Methodist Church as she referred to ‘a lack of empathy’.

‘I’ve lived this every day for six months. Each time I see my son I’m so grateful because I know had I stayed, I would have perished,’ she said. ‘I remember two little girls of three and five who have perished, they were our next door neighbours. But by having survived we are feeling penalised for being alive.’

One councillor called her experience a ‘disgrace’, while NHS staff in attendance said they were ‘really sorry’.