Grenfell toddler victim Jeremiah Deen's family say people must pay for 'gambling with lives'

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The family of one of the youngest Grenfell victims today said anyone found responsible for the fire must be made to pay for “gambling with people’s lives”.

Met Police confirmed last night that two-year-old Jeremiah Deen was killed with his mother Zainab, 32, when they became trapped on the 14th floor. 

Ms Deen made a series of frantic calls on her mobile to family members who could only watch helplessly as the flames rose. 

Jeremiah’s grandfather Zainu Deen, 51, told the Standard: “Zainab was a good mother and would have done anything she could to keep Jeremiah safe. He was her whole world and they were inseparable.

“He was a playful, innocent young boy whose life never got the chance to start. 

“We need answers not just for my family but for all the other little babies who were killed in Grenfell too. If those responsible knew the materials on that tower were unsafe then they gambled with my daughter and grandson’s lives, and must pay.”

Ms Deen’s step-brother Claudius added: “It hasn’t been easy. We were watching it from so far away and after a while we heard nothing more from her. 

“Deep down we knew she had passed. If she had been safe she would have called us straight away.”

Ms Deen’s death was confirmed at an inquest in July.

Specialist teams will this week begin recovering the personal possessions of residents from 33 flats in the tower and 22 homes in nearby Grenfell Walk that are safe enough to enter.  

Owners of hundreds of unoccupied properties near Grenfell Tower cannot be compelled to live in them, the local council has said after the Guardian reported oligarchs and foreign royalty were among the absentees.

According to a list seen by the newspaper there are 1,652 unoccupied properties in of Kensington and Chelsea, of which 603 — around a third — have been vacant for more than two years.

Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, the council’s deputy leader, said: “If a property has been left unoccupied and unfurnished for two years or more, property owners will be charged an additional 50 per cent of the full council tax charge.

“Unfortunately, we have no powers to compel owners to live in their properties but we offer support and advice to help bring long-term empty properties back into use.”

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