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Death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah – Statements following Pre-Inquest Review Hearing on Friday 18th September 2020

The Pre-Inquest Review hearing into the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah took place via partially remote hearing on 18th September at 09.30 a.m.

Following the PIR, the following statements were made by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, mother of Ella, and Jocelyn Cockburn, Rosamund’s representative from Hodge Jones & Allen.

Jocelyn Cockburn, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen

“The hearing today ascertained the outstanding evidence which will be disclosed and the time table for this to ensure that the Inquest in November and December can address the issues that have been identified as relevant to the scope of Ella’s case.

“It is now our job to make sure Rosamund gets justice for Ella with a thorough, comprehensive and detailed Inquest which gets to the bottom of how and why Ella died, and to identify the lessons that should be learned from her death. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for relevant evidence from across the government relating to the period when Ella was alive. This evidence includes the steps that were or should have been taken to reduce pollution levels, and the steps that were or should have been taken to inform the public about the dangers of pollution and how to minimise exposure to it. The Inquest will look into the role that air pollution played in Ella’s death, which has huge significance to other children with asthma and more widely to those living in congested urban areas.”

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, mother to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah

“The PIR is done and I look forward to getting this new Inquest underway. The first Inquest, in 2014, concluded that Ella died because of “acute respiratory failure”, but it didn’t investigate the role that air pollution played in her death. Since, new evidence has come to light about the risks of air pollution. My sincerest hope is that this new Inquest will determine, once and for all, the facts around Ella’s death and what the true cause was. By identifying the reasons, we can enable a swifter change in attitudes and action so that air pollution and its health risks are tackled properly and the same thing doesn’t happen to other families.”

The Inquest is scheduled to take place 30 November to 11 December.

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, Ella’s mother, is additionally represented by Guy Mitchell of Hodge Jones & Allen, and Richard Hermer QC, Adam Straw and Ravi Mehta of counsel.

For additional information regarding the Inquest, please email:


Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, 9 years old, lived close to the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south east London. She died in February 2013 after having seizures for three years and having visited hospital 27 times for breathing problems related to her asthma.

In 2014, an inquest into Ella’s death concluded the cause of her death to be “acute respiratory failure”, however it did not investigate the role that air pollution played in her death.

That inquest was quashed by high court judges in 2019 because of new evidence that had come to light about the risks of air pollution. The court ruled that a new inquest into Ella’s death must be held.

During the Pre-Inquest Review hearing in December 2019, the Assistant Coroner, Phillip Barlow, stated that the new inquest will examine whether air pollution contributed to Ella’s death.

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