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Tears for family at blaze inquest

A coroner's officer has broken down in tears while relaying the details of five children killed in a house fire.

The children all died with their mother when their London home was engulfed in flames in the early hours of Saturday.

An inquest into the deaths of Muna Elmufatish, 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, nine, and brothers Mustafa, five, and Yehya, two, was opened and adjourned at Barnet Coroner's Court on Tuesday.

Coroner's officer Rebecca Smith outlined the facts for Andrew Walker, coroner for the northern district of greater London. As she read the final details of the dead, the date of birth and home address of Yehya, her voice broke but she went on and wiped away tears.

The children's father Bassam Kua, 51, and their 16-year-old sister Nur escaped the blaze at Sonia Gardens, in Neasden, but remain in hospital. The girl is critical but stable and her father is in a stable condition.

The coroner adjourned the inquest to February 16.

Post-mortem examinations found that the six died from inhalation of fumes when the blaze raged through their home.

Investigations continue into what caused the devastating fire, which police do not believe was suspicious. There were suggestions that the fire was caused by a faulty fridge-freezer but the London Fire Brigade said that was not thought to have been the cause.

On Monday hundreds of schoolchildren gathered for a special assembly in memory of Hanin Kua and Basma at Crest Academy where they studied.

Principal Bev Bell told the assembled 900 pupils that the girls were loved and respected by all at the school.

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