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Woman who died with son in Grenfell Tower was pregnant with third child

Berkti Haftom lived on the 18th floor of the west London block with son Biruk when they were caught in the disaster.

A woman who died alongside her 12-year-old son in Grenfell Tower was 10 weeks pregnant at the time, an inquiry has heard.

Berkti Haftom, 29, lived on the 18th floor of the west London block with son Biruk when they were caught in the disaster.

As well as expecting another child, she was making arrangements for her eldest son, from whom she had been separated for years, to join them in the UK.

The Grenfell Tower inquiry heard a heartbreaking tribute from Nahom Tesfay, 18, who expressed despair for his future.

I was looking forward to living with my mum and little brother but the fire in Grenfell Tower on June 14 2017 changed everything. I didn’t see my mother for 15 years Nahom Tesfay

He had been left in the care of his grandmother in Ethiopia at the age of two, while Ms Haftom fled conflict to set up a new home.

Mr Tesfay was regularly overcome by emotion when he spoke of his loss on Tuesday.

He said: “When my grandmother died in 2016, everything changed. She (Ms Haftom) was really worried about me because I couldn’t cope on my own. Since that time she kept calling me to promise me, saying, ‘you will soon be with me’.

“When I remember her voice you cannot even imagine how I feel. I was looking forward to living with my mum and little brother but the fire in Grenfell Tower on June 14 2017 changed everything. I didn’t see my mother for 15 years.”

He was held by his relatives as he wept.

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Berkti Haftom with her son Biruk, 12

Ms Haftom had fled their home country of Eritrea after conflict erupted with Ethiopia in 1998. It had been too dangerous to take her eldest child with her.

A statement by her sisters read to the inquiry revealed she had been expecting a third child when she died.

“Biruk was so happy that his mother was going to have a baby,” the statement said.

Tributes were paid to Biruk by his young cousins in Britain.

In a poignant video message, Simon Michael, 10, said he wished he had been in Grenfell Tower on the night of the fire.

He said Biruk, who he called his “brother”, always looked after him.

Remembering that his cousin was always good with secrets, he said: “Let me tell you a secret, I wish I was with you there that night, but don’t tell my mum.”

“I won’t forget you, brother,” he finished.

Of his aunt, he said: “You didn’t die alone, a part of me left with you.”

Seven-year-old Hemen Yemen said her cousin Biruk was “very sweet and handsome”, in the video tribute.

She said: “We were all excited but the fire took the excitement away from us.

“I was very happy but my happiness has gone because of the tragedy of Grenfell Tower.

“I miss him so much I still don’t know what to do without him.”

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