Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Widows tell of heartbreak over their husbands' deaths in wall collapse at recycling plant

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Stacey Foster

A widow whose husband was among five men killed when a wall collapsed at a recycling centre has told an inquest her children still ask for their father everyday - two years after the tragedy.

The five victims were crushed by the 15ft concrete wall in Birmingham on 7 July 2016, while clearing out a scrap metal storage bay.

Birmingham Coroner's Court heard how Senegal-born Ousmane Diaby, 39, and Saibo Sillah, 42, Bangally Dukuray, 55, Almamo Jammeh, 45, and Mahamadou Jagana, 49, all originally from Gambia, were working at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Nechells at the time of the incident.

Mr Jammeh's wife Awa Dibba said the accident had "torn my world apart".

Three other widows told the inquest that they had struggled to cope with life as their husband was the main provider for the family.

The five victims were crushed by the 15ft concrete wall. Credit: ITV News Central

All the victims were married, working men who had arrived in the UK from Spain, and had been living in Birmingham.

Coroner Emma Brown said: "They were clearing out a scrap metal storage bay when one of the walls, made of heavy concrete blocks, fell on to them.

"A 999 call was made at 8.45am, emergency services attended and it was identified that all five men were deceased.

"A sixth man was severely injured in that incident but he was extricated and taken to hospital."

His death has torn the family apart... The little children ask every day for their dad, they don't know he has died.

– Awa Dibba, Almamo Jammeh's wife

Ms Dibba said in a statement: "Almamo worked so hard and loved his family.

"His death has torn the family apart both here and back home in Gambia. It has devastated us.

"The little children ask every day for their dad, they don't know he has died."

The mens' deaths are being investigating by police and the Health and Safety Executive. Credit: ITV News Central

Aminata Kaba, the wife of Mr Diaby, said she found out about her husband's death after people spoke about it on WhatsApp.

She told the inquest: "Someone told me he had died - I heard people had put it on WhatsApp as they weren't aware of who his close family were.

"Then someone came to the mosque to say he had died. My uncle also heard and told me about the death of my husband.

"I last spoke to Ousmane on 6 July, during the night. He asked me if I loved him, I told him I did and he was the only person I loved.

"I was really shocked when I heard about his death."

I have found life a huge struggle and I miss him daily.

– Hawa Kaba, Bangally Dukuray

Mr Dukuray's wife Hawa Kaba said: "I can only describe the effect as absolutely devastating and I cannot believe he has passed away.

"Since my husband's death my son has become very quiet and withdrawn. I have found life a huge struggle and I miss him daily."

Mr Sillah's cousin had a statement read out by a court officer which said his family "meant everything" and he would work seven days a week, every minute he could, to provide for his family in Gambia.

Detectives from West Midlands Police are investigating the deaths alongside the Health and Safety Executive.