Picture of youngest Grenfell victim and man’s recorded words shared in tributes
A fortnight of tributes to the 62 people killed at Grenfell Tower is under way.
The final recorded words of a father killed in the Grenfell Tower fire and a picture of its youngest victim were shared by grieving relatives as the public inquiry into the disaster began.
Two weeks of tributes from friends and families of the blaze’s 72 victims are taking place before Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s probe begins hearing evidence next month.
Almost one year on, the bereaved laid bare the terrible human cost of the tragedy in a series of “pen portraits”, reducing many in attendance at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, South Kensington, to tears.
Sir Martin, a retired Court of Appeal judge, said at the hearing’s outset: “When we die, we live on in the memories of those who knew and loved us. It is fitting therefore that the opening hearings … should be dedicated to the memory of those who died.”
Stillborn baby Logan Gomes, considered the youngest victim of the June 14 inferno last year, was the first to be commemorated.
His family had escaped from the 21st floor of the west London block.
Raw grief was written across the face of father Marcio Gomes as he paid tribute, often pausing to contain his distress.
Most upsettingly, a picture of the infant’s body, swaddled in a blanket and held by his mother, was shown on a screen.
He might not be here physically but he will always be here in our hearts Marcio Gomes, Logan's father
Mr Gomes said: “He might not be here physically but he will always be here in our hearts, and will be forever. I know he’s here, with God, right next to me, giving me strength and courage to take this forward.”
A voice trapped in the tower was also aired for the first time on Monday morning, one of several moments that counsel to the inquiry Bernard Richmond QC warned could be painful.
Mohamed Amied Neda, a proud father-of-one who fled persecution at the hands of the Taliban to find a new home in Britain, was honoured by his brother, wife and son.
A picture was painted of a diligent, hard-working family man, who rose from being a pizza delivery driver to the head of his own chauffeur company. A character so popular that one of his customers, whom he met only once, contacted the family from the Netherlands to express his condolences after the fire.
Mr Neda’s final recorded words, sent to loved ones as he was trapped in the burning block, were played to the room.
The 57-year-old, also known as Saber, was heard saying, stoicially: “Goodbye, we are leaving this world now, goodbye.”
His wife and son were left in a coma by the fire.
Also remembered was Denis Murphy, a 56-year-old father who was hailed as his family’s “lynchpin”.
A “recovered handful of coins” are the only possessions his loved ones have left, sister Anne-Marie Murphy said.
So poignant to us, as he would give you his last pennies to you if you ever needed them Anne-Marie Murphy, Denis's sister
“So poignant to us, as he would give you his last pennies to you if you ever needed them.”
Each poignant pen portrait was applauded by those gathered at the hearing.
Joseph Daniels, Mary Mendy and Khadija Saye will also be commemorated on Monday.
The inquiry began in the morning with a 72-second silence, one for each victim of the blaze.
The commemorations are taking place at the South Kensington hotel so it is closer to the Grenfell community.
Private rooms, quiet areas and a prayer room will be available for the bereaved, survivors and residents, while there will be counselling and NHS support.
The rest of phase one of the inquiry will take place at Holborn Bars in central London, where several procedural hearings have already happened.