Poison tests are finally being carried out on ex-landfill site

Poison tests are finally being carried out on ex-landfill site near the home of schoolboy, 7, who died from inhaling toxic fumes during heavy flooding

Tests are finally to be carried out on a former landfill site close to the home of a schoolboy who died from inhaling toxic fumes during heavy flooding.

The local authority has ordered an investigation after new official documents revealed by The Mail on Sunday showed that lethal hydrogen cyanide gas was detected in the home of Zane Gbangbola.

A coroner ruled in 2016 that the seven-year-old had been poisoned by carbon monoxide from a petrol-powered pump used to clear floodwater, but his parents have always maintained the cause was cyanide gas, which seeped into their home during flooding two years earlier.

The local authority has ordered an investigation after new official documents revealed by The Mail on Sunday showed that lethal hydrogen cyanide gas was detected in the home of Zane Gbangbola

Now Spelthorne Borough Council’s environment and sustainability committee has voted to test the land in Chertsey, Surrey, a former unregulated dumping ground.

Committee chairman Ian Beardsmore said at last week’s meeting that it was ‘the right thing to do,’ adding: ‘This is not ifs, buts or maybe, but how and when.’

The decision came after newly-released files revealed cyanide was detected three times in the family’s home by firefighters using specialist gas-testing equipment – but no carbon monoxide was found.

The papers also say the pump blamed for the tragedy was not in use at the time.

The council has fought for years against calls by Zane’s parents for tests, even hiring a QC at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds to represent them at the inquest.

A coroner ruled in 2016 that the seven-year-old had been poisoned by carbon monoxide from a petrol-powered pump used to clear floodwater, but his parents have always maintained the cause was cyanide gas, which seeped into their home during flooding two years earlier

Documents obtained by parents Kye Gbangbola and Nicole Lawler show that the council was aware as far back as 2010 of a ‘high risk’ of contamination on land behind the property.

An internal Environment Agency report says that officials at Spelthorne advised against testing on cost grounds.

Following a change of political leadership, the council is backing calls by Zane’s parents for a public inquiry to establish the truth about his death – a demand also supported by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Lawler welcomed the news but urged the local authority to ‘get on with it’, adding: ‘We want deeds, not words.’

Pressure on Boris Johnson to order an independent panel inquiry has been growing since a retired Ministry of Defence engineer told the BBC that military contractors dumped chemical waste in gravel pits close to the family’s home.

Source: Read Full Article