The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has thrown his support behind a mother’s bid to get her nine-year old daughter’s inquest quashed and a new inquest opened.
In a letter sent this week to the Attorney General, the Mayor highlights the ‘long and valiant campaign’ undertaken by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, mother of nine-year old Ella who died in 2013.
Last month the family’s lawyer, Jocelyn Cockburn of Hodge Jones & Allen wrote to the Attorney General to ask him to quash Ella’s inquest based on new evidence from Professor Stephen Holgate, which linked Ella’s death to London’s unlawfully high levels of air pollution.
In his letter, the Mayor says: “As you may know, I am committed to improving air quality in London, achieving legal limits as quickly as possible, and then meeting even tighter World Health Organization guidelines by 2030. Cases like Ella’s are a key part of why I have attached such importance to this issue.
“As a result, it would be extremely helpful for a new inquest into Ella’s death to be held. I, and others with air quality duties, need to better understand the role that air pollution may have played in order to ensure that the most ambitious measures are taken at every level of government so that – if air pollution was the cause – no other child ever again dies as a result of the air they breathe.”
Jocelyn Cockburn says: “The Attorney General will find it extremely persuasive that the Mayor of London, who himself has air quality duties, has added his weight to the call for a new inquest into Ella’s death. The case for a further investigation is now overwhelming, and the new evidence about the impact of pollution on Ella’s health must be examined to see whether it was a causative factor of her death.
“As the Mayor of London indicates, there is a real need to understand what role air pollution played in this child’s death – not least to learn lessons to ensure that other children do not suffer the same fate.”
Rosamund Kissi-Debrah says: “The twins and I are extremely grateful to the Mayor of London, who is an asthma sufferer himself, for his support to our case for another inquest into Ella’s death.”
“Since Ella’s death I have become so much more aware of the deadly threat posed by air pollution. A second inquest has the potential to help us better understand this threat and prevent other mums and dads having to go through the trauma of losing a child to this invisible killer.”
An online petition set up in support of a new inquest into Ella’s death has reached almost 70,000 signatories.
The challenge to the Attorney General is brought by Ella’s mother, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah on behalf of one of Ella’s siblings who has not been named on the legal documents.