London Mayor Sadiq Khan has thrown his support behind a mother’s bid to get her nine-year-old daughter’s inquest quashed.
The Mayor sent a letter to the Attorney General urging him to open a new inquest into the death of Hither Green girl Ella Kissi-Debrah.
He paid tribute to “long and valiant campaign” undertaken by Ella’s mother, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, who believes there is a clear link between illegal levels of air pollution and her daughters sudden death from an asthma attack in 2013.
Rosamund said: “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.”
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 the Mayor’s letter, he said: “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.”
An online petition set up in support of a new inquest into Ella’s death has reached almost 70,000 signatories. If it reaches 100,000 the matter will have to be debated in the parliament.
To see the petition go to www.change.org/p/grant-an-inquest-to-find-if-air-pollution-caused-my-daughter-s-death