A mother and young daughter died in each other’s arms at Grenfell Tower, alongside a cousin who was just a visitor on the night of the fire.
Amal Ahmedin, 35, cradled her three-year-old daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin as flames devoured the building on June 14, trying in vain to “squeeze the nightmare away”.
Her husband Mohamednur Tuccu, 44, was found dead outside its wreckage, while cousin Amna Mahmud Idris, 27, also became a victim of the disaster that night.
Their grim fate was rued by relatives at the Grenfell Tower public inquiry, which is holding victim commemorations before evidence hearings begin.
Ms Ahmedin’s sister Feruza Afewerki said nearly a year on she “still hadn’t been able to make sense of the senseless deaths of innocent and precious lives”.
She told the hearing: “Those we grew up with, who shared our fondest memories with, celebrated and mourned, have had their lives stolen from them while the whole of London watched.
“It has been completely surreal and the most painful and devastating time of our lives.”
Her other sister, Winter, fought through tears as she paid tribute to the lost family.
Mother and daughter were found next to each other on the 23rd floor, while the body of Mr Tuccu was recovered close to the nearby leisure centre.
She described how her sister, with whom she shared a bedroom when they were children, used to hold her tightly to “squeeze the nightmares away”.
She said: “I would hold her (Amaya) tight just like Amal did to me when I was a kid. And that’s where they were when they were burned alive, holding each other tight trying to squeeze the nightmare away.”
Lamenting the loss of a life so young, she said of Amaya: “I will continue planning Amaya’s life – what she would be doing today, tomorrow, her 10th birthday, her 18th, her 21st and the rest of her life. We all miss them so much.”
Ms Afewerki said of her sister during the commemoration: “She lived life like it was her last day and was always the life of the party.
“She loved to see those around her thriving and happy and because of this she was loved by so many.”
Ms Idris had the terrible fortune of visiting the tower on the night it was destroyed by the worst fire to hit Britain since World War Two.
Her husband Ibrahim told the hearing: “She came to live with me in the UK in March 2016. After one year I lost her forever.”
Also remembered were mother and daughter Victoria King and Alexandra Atala, who, her sister said, were only identified after recently restoring contact with family overseas.
Australian Penny Pearce, Ms King’s sister and Ms Atala’s aunt, said in a statement read by her solicitor that she had reconnected with her sister in the UK after years of searching.
“Eventually, thanks to the Salvation Army family tracing I was able to get in touch with her and my niece, Alexandra, living in Grenfell Tower,” her statement said.
“If this had not been the case, no family member would have known they had perished as no-one knew they were still living there.”
Personal portraits of the 72 victims are expected to continue until next Wednesday at the Millenium Gloucester Hotel, south Kensington.