Pictured: The damp and mould inside the home where two-year-old boy with breathing difficulties had lived before his tragic death
- Photos were shown in court today of the mould found in Awaab Ishak’s home
- The two-year-old boy died after living in damp conditions in a Rochdale flat
- Images showed thick black mould in the kitchen, bathroom and on ceilings
- Rochdale Coroner’s Court heard landlords should have been more ‘proactive’
Photos of the home of a toddler who died after being forced to live in the damp and moudly conditions were shown for the first time today during his inquest.
Two-year-old Awaab Ishak was admitted to Royal Oldham Hospital with breathing difficulties and died on December 21, 2020.
Images seen in court on Saturday show the extent of the mould in the Ilminster block on the Freehold estate in Rochdale. The photos were taken by Greater Manchester Police in the days following Awaab’s death.
The images show thick black mould behind radiators, in the kitchen and bathroom of the property.
Two-year-old Awaab Ishak was admitted to Royal Oldham Hospital with breathing difficulties and died on December 21, 2020. The toddler had been forced to live in the damp and moudly conditions in Ilminster block on the Freehold estate in Rochdale
Photos shown during the inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court show the extent of the black mould, which was found in the kitchen and bathroom. The photos were taken by Greater Manchester Police in the days following Awaab’s death
Awaab’s father Faisal Abdullah told the court that he first reported mould in the house in autumn 2017 – more than a year before his son was born. These photos show the damp and mould in the Rochdale flat in the days after the young child’s death
During the inquest at Rochdale Coroner’s Court, housing ombudsman Richard Blakeway said that it was ‘too simplistic’ for housing associations to blame tenants for damp and mould at their homes.
He suggested damp was a ‘symptom’ of other long-standing issues with housing – and insisted social landlords should be more ‘proactive’ about tackling the problem.
Yesterday, on the first day of evidence at the inquest, Awaab’s father Faisal Abdullah said he first reported the mould in his kitchen in autumn 2017 – more than a year before his son was born.
The young boy’s father repeatedly complained to staff at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, which owned and managed the site but was told to ‘paint over it’ by a member of staff.
The inquest comes after a post-mortem examination found a medical link between Awaab’s death and the damp and mould that blighted his family’s flat.
The inquest comes after a post-mortem examination found a medical link between Awaab’s death and the damp and mould that blighted his family’s flat. Pictured: Thick black mould in the flat in December 2020
Mr Abdullah told the coroner when he complained in 2017, two years after he arrived in the UK from Sudan, he was never told to specifically use anti-mould paint and had not experienced the issue before.
A year later the mould returned to the kitchen and bathroom just a few months before Awaab’s premature birth in December 2018.
Th father applied for a new home in May 2019 before later making further bids for a new home.
One email sent from Mr Abdullah in 2020, while his wife Aisha Amin was pregnant with their second child, read out in court, said: ‘Kitchen… damp is really bad… I have a kid and my wife, she is pregnant. I need further movement please.’
During the inquest the court heard that Awaab had a history of a blocked nose and coughing on several occasions in his young life.
His mother said Awaab was prescribed an inhaler after he was found struggling to breathe through his nose in autumn 2020.
She recalled telling health visitors about the damp and mould in November 2020, around the same time her toddler started suffering from a continuous cough.
Black mould was also seen behind the radiator in the family’s home. Awaab’s mother, Aisha Amin told the court that Awaab had a history of a blocked nose and coughing on several occasions in his young life
Ms Amin also said a yellow liquid had been leaking into the kitchen.
She said: ‘When anyone came into the flat, they said it was disgusting and i felt sad about it. I would rather visit my friends than have people visit the flat.’
Awaab was reported to have a sore throat for three weeks before December 16. Three days later he was admitted to Rochdale Urgent Care Centre.
He was then transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital being treated for croup before being discharged on December 20.
That night, however, Awaab was unable to sleep, according to his mother, and was admitted once again to the urgent care centre.
The following day, on December 21, he was transferred back to the Royal Oldham Hospital where he died.
Awaab died just weeks after this photo was taken of him blowing out candles on his second birthday
His mother had arrived at the hospital following an appointment about her pregnancy to find a crowd of doctors around his bed.
She told the court: ‘When I got to hospital, I saw my son in bed surrounded by doctors. About 30 minutes later he died.’
Speaking to the court on Saturday after the photos were shown, Mr Blakeway said: ‘The report acknowledges there may be factors like fuel poverty, age and design of homes, which may make the risk of damp and mould greater.
‘Our report was to say that those are known risks and therefore it’s important for them to think about their approach to make sure they address those known challenges.’
When Awaab’s father first complained of the damp in the Ilminster block (pictured) on the Freehold estate in 2017, he was told to ‘paint over it’ by a member of staff from Rochdale Boroughwide Housing
Following Awaab’s death, other families living on Freehold have also complained of severe damp and mould issues, Manchester Evening News has reported.
Much like Awaab’s family, they had tried and failed to move home, with some having letters from their GP urging them to leave.
Some children had to be rushed to hospital with severe breathing issues – including four-month-old Gabriel, son of Vilma Lavres, who filmed the shocking moment he was struggling before attending hospital.
The Manchester news site said families battled with the damp and mould problems while senior managers at the housing organisation enjoyed huge ‘fat cat’ pay rises in recent years.
Awaab’s inquest is expected to continue for another eight days.
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