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Grenfell Tower: Individual manslaughter charges may be considered

Investigations into the Grenfell Tower tragedy have begun Credit: PA

Individual manslaughter charges may be considered in the criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire, Scotland Yard said.

Eight cases of fraud involving people who claimed compensation after the disaster and four possible thefts from flats on the lower levels of the Tower while it was under 24-hour security are also being probed, a spokesperson added.

Police now believe that the death toll from the June 14 blaze may fall slightly from the current estimate of around 80.

Commander Stuart Cundy said the progress made in terms of recovering remains was "much higher" than he had expected three months ago.

'Justice for Grenfell' campaigners Credit: PA

Some 60 of the estimated 80 people killed in the fire have been formally identified, he said, adding that the exact figure would not be known until the investigation was complete.

He said the 80 figure "may come down a little bit" due to the recoveries made from the tower, the number of identifications made and video evidence from the night.

But Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack added that a lot of the remains are "very fragmented", with only "a small piece of bone or tissue" being used to identify some people and some individuals' remains mixed with others.

The number of officers working in the tower was doubled on Monday in the hope of completing the recovery process by the New Year.

CCTV viewed by police showed that 240 people left the tower between midnight and 8am on the night of the fire.

But, Mr Cundy said, there could still be people with no social or family connection outside of the tower, and not on any official lists, who therefore could still be within the high-rise.

Commander Stuart Cundy speaking in the wake of the fire in June Credit: PA

He declined to put a number on how many the death count could fall by.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner said the investigation would deal with "whatever offences come to light".

He said: "The kind of stuff I would envisage we may come across would involve offences perhaps of fraud, misconduct offences, health and safety breaches, breaches of fire safety regulations, and of course offences of manslaughter, whether that be on a corporate or an individual level."

He warned that this did not mean that investigators had already come across evidence suggesting culpability on these issues.

Four strands to the police investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire:

  • Construction
  • Refurbishment
  • Management
  • Emergency response

So far, investigators have identified 2,400 different individuals to speak to, and taken more than 1,000 statements.

These include 675 firefighters, 340 police officers and a similar number of ambulance staff involved in the emergency response.

Police have seized 31 million documents and 2,500 exhibits identified 336 different organisations with "varying degrees of involvement".

Some 340 body-worn clips from emergency services personnel on the night have also been documented and downloaded.

Forensic examination of the tower will run into the new year, followed by laboratory testing.