Ali Bajwa QC and Deirdre Malone secure narrative verdict and Rule 43 Report at the inquest into freezer fire deaths

Thursday 25 October 2012

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Ali Bajwa QC and Deirdre Malone have today secured an important verdict at the inquest into the death of six members of the Kua family; a tragedy which has been described by the London Fire Brigade as the worst house fire they had seen in the last decade.

Her Majesty's Coroner Andrew Walker handed down a narrative verdict which found that the fire started when the capacitor adjacent to the compressor in a compartment of the domestic freezer failed and caught fire.The freezer was manufactured at time when the housing to the compressor and capacitor had been changed from a pressed steel to a plastic housing. Had the compressor been housed in a pressed steel compartment it is likely the fire would not have reached the insulation. Tragically the fire did reach the insulation and was fuelled by it and it spread upstairs where the children had been sleeping.

After hearing submissions from Counsel for the Family, the Coroner indicated his intention to make a Rule 43 report to the appropriate agencies regarding the materials used to house these types of capacitor with the intention of alerting the industry to the risk and to reduce the likelihood of this kind of tragedy happening again. He expressed the hope that the report would be received as "a message being sent" to the industry.

The inquest and verdict have been widely reported in the Independent, the Guardian, the Evening Standard, the BBC and The Mirror and on London's Biggest Conversation and London 24.

Ali Bajwa QC and Deirdre Malone are both members of the Garden Court Inquests Team.

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