Grenfell Tower death toll may fall as fraudsters may have invented missing relatives

Grenfell Tower death toll may fall as fraudsters may have invented missing relatives

Grenfell Tower death toll may fall as fraudsters may have invented missing relatives

Updated 20 September 2017, 9:00 AEST

The death toll from the terrifying Grenfell Tower fire could drop below the estimated figure of 80, with London police investigating cases where survivors may have falsely claimed they lost relatives in the fire.

The death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire could drop below the estimated figure of 80, with police investigating eight cases where survivors may have falsely claimed they lost relatives or property in the fire.

Key points:

  • Estimated 80 dead in fire, number likely drop due to false reports about missing people
  • It will be months before any charges are laid but those culpable could fail jail time
  • Charges of corporate manslaughter could be pursued at end of investigation

In the three months since the terrifying blaze tore through the Grenfell Tower housing block, there has been speculation about how many people died.

Some community members have suggested the figure was much higher than the estimated figure of 80.

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said the number would likely drop due to false reports about missing people.

"Up to now I've stayed with the fact that we believe the number to be around 80 — I'm hoping by the end of the year that that number comes down," she said.

"It won't come down a huge amount, but it will come down slightly I hope."

London's metropolitan police have said charges of corporate manslaughter could be pursued once they complete their investigation.

It will be months before any charges are laid in relation to the fire, but those culpable could fail jail time.

"The offences that we're investigating at the moment range from everything from corporate manslaughter, manslaughter via gross negligence, all the way through to fraud, misconduct in public office, and obviously, health and safety," Ms McCormack said.

"There's nothing, as far as I'm concerned, that's off the table."

'This investigation can't be rushed'

So far police have seized 31 million documents and taken over 1,000 statements in the investigation.

Around 200 detectives have been working on the case and 336 companies have been identified as being involved in the construction, renovation or management of the building.

Police said they hoped the structural work just completed on the burnt-out tower would allow them to double the number of search teams combing the building for evidence and remains.

Karim Mussilhy lost his uncle in the fire and said so far he was happy with the way the investigation was progressing.

"They seem to be sincere in what they are saying, when they're say to us 'we're going to follow the evidence, it doesn't matter who it takes us to or what organisation it takes us to," he said.

"I want to believe them… we want justice and I think the criminal investigation is hopefully going to do that for us."

Mr Mussilhy said he did not want the investigation to be rushed in anyway, "we want things done properly".

"I don't want people getting away with anything because they were rushed," he said.