1. ITV Report

Inquest opens into mother and daughter deaths

Bola Ejifunmailayo and her three year old daughter Fiyan Photo: ITV Anglia

An inquest has opened into the deaths of a mother and daughter who died following an arson attack on their Milton Keynes home in September 2010.

The bodies of 29 year old Bola Ejifunmailayo and her three year old daughter Fiyan were discovered 36 hours after the fire in the early hours of September 5.

Last year Barbara Zhanje of Corby was jailed for 12 years for their manslaughter.

Milton Keynes Coroner Tom Osborne opened today's proceedings with a moments silence for the mother and her daughter.

He also stated that the inquest was not about apportioning blame to individual fire fighters, saying those that attended the scene, showed "courage, bravery, dedication and professionalism".

The inquest will examine whether any failings in fire service procedures contributed to their deaths, whether there was any failure in communications between police and the fire service and the role of Milton Keynes Council in the enforcement and regulation of Homes of Multiple Occupancy.

Seven people shared the three storey town house with Bola and Fiyan after it was converted into bedsits. In March this year, their landlord was jailed for breaching fire safety regulations.

Giving evidence this morning, a tenant at the time, Muibat Babajide, told the inquest she had lived on the ground floor of the house for just a few weeks at the time of the fire with her 3 year old daughter and did not know the other residents.

On the night of the fire she said she did not hear a fire alarm. She shouted upstairs to warn the other residents but did not here a reply. She escaped with her daughter but left the scene without telling anyone.

"I was confused. I did not know what to do. My daughter was crying. She was afraid."

Muna Elmi, another tenant, was rescued from the first floor of the building by firefighters. In a statement read to the court she also recalled a lack of working fire alarms in the property.

In all, a total of 35 witnesses are due to give evidence to the inquest which is expected to last two weeks.

More on this story