Tower Hamlets Watch

Leanne Minick’s Tragic Death at Sandall House – What really happened? | September 18, 2010


Please read latest post also “January 2013 –
Leanne Minick Tragedy: Inquest still gives no answers after 2 years and 4 months”

First of all I would like to express my extreme sorrow and regret to the parents and family of this beautiful little 8 year old girl Leanne Minick who lost her life in a tragic accident at Sandall House near Victoria Park.
I’m am very uncomfortable writing about these matters or even expressing myself in this way, so please forgive my reluctance in describing these matters. As I sometimes feel that words if spoken incorrectly in these situations can sometimes reduce the emotional weight and impact of the facts, and that this can be looked upon as insulting to those closest to the story.

Something has begun to bug me about the reporting and facts surrounding this tragic event. Firstly after reading the front page of the East London Advertiser on Thursday;

“The Death of eight-year-old Leanne Minick, who plunged from her 15th-floor flat on Saturday, has sparked safety fears over tower block windows.

Angry residents have said the tragedy at Sandall House near Victoria Park could have been prevented. One neighbour told how Leanne’s mum Clair Sieberras and stepdad Ian Whitmore had nailed Ian Whitmore had nailed Leanne’s window shut but were instructed to remove the nails because they were ‘dangerous’.
And June Morton, MD for Old Ford Housing which owns the property, said there are ‘no safety flaws’.” – East London Advertiser 16 September 2010

Like most others i imagine, were disgusted to read about the nailing shut of the windows to protect your child, and also the accusation of the parents being to told then the remove them. . So was this true or was this an off-the-cuff remark made stupidly at the time or was this the truth? Of course it stands to reason that Old Ford would immediately deny this, and seeing as now that the East London Advertiser have even removed this quote from their website, then I would imagine that Old Fords legal team have swung into action. I’ve had experience myself with observing how these legal teams operate, and let me assure you its not a pretty sight.

Something about this entire situation just doesn’t feel right, so I tried to look myself to find sources of information from family and friends maybe that had given other qoutes regarding this, so i looked for any tribute pages or others that may have been set up in her memory. I’m no facebook officianodo either or fan for that matter, and have never really searched or used the site myself, but one thing i am good at is Googling or using the search engine google to put it another way. But I cannot seem to find any such tribute sites.

I have also searched for other sites reporting the nailing shut of the windows, and found nothing. In fact now that the East London Advertiser has removed it there is only one other post and thats on this persons site;

http://jkaschke.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/leanne-minick-plunged-from-her-towerblock-bedroom-window-in-tower-hamlets/

and even thats also just referring to the now edited article on the East London Advertiser page.

Apparently though Safety concerns have been raised regarding the windows at Sandall House by other residents in the block;

Fourteenth floor resident, Shohel Ahmed, 28, a student, said: “I feel very sad about it because she was really little.

“It could have been my cousin or my brother. There’s no safety like a grill on the windows. When I look after my cousins, the children know they mustn’t go near the windows. But I worry, it’s impossible to look after all the time.” – East London Advertiser 13 September 2010

‘Absolutely not safe’

One mother of a two-year-old girl said she had been complaining to Old Ford for the last year about the windows because she was worried about her child’s safety.

And another mother, Sahra Mohamed, said: “It is absolutely not safe. The windows are not safe.

“They can’t shut properly. When they are open the children climb on them.”

Ms Mohamed, who applied for a transfer from the block in the aftermath of the tragedy, said she would only feel safe on the ground floor.

She added that her son had witnessed the death. – BBC News “Parents ‘warned of windows’ in tower where girl died” 14 September 2010

Now with the accusations of complaints regarding the windows being chucked at Old Ford Housing Association and Old Fords denial that any complaints had been recieved, this started pricking my curiosity as I’ve heard of complaints regarding other housing associations never being dealt with and even complaints going astray. Old Ford now claim that child proof safety locks were installed on all the windows to Sandall House in 2004.

“New windows, with child restrictors, and balcony doors were installed at Sandall House at the end of 2004.” – June Morton, managing director for Old Ford Housing Association

As these types works to windows and doors usually fall within the scheme of major works and should need planning applications submitted, I then immediately wanted to confirm the truth of this myself so went to the Tower Hamlets Planning website, as all installations of these kind have to go through rigorous planning proceedures, and also have to adhere to health & safety guidelines. For me anyway, its usually pretty straightforward to find unknown planning applications, that I can then look through at my leisure.
Typing “Sandall House” into the planning departments search facility though is another matter, the council planning page and online archive usually stores all applications going back to the year 2000. Searching using “Sandal House” only reveals 3 planning applications for that site, going back to October 2009. I’m not saying that the planning applications for new windows in 2004 have been removed, but where are they?

What i did find though was this page on the Tower Hamlets site regarding replacement window compliance, which goes into some detail about window replacement, building regulations and the FENSA scheme. The FENSA scheme is something that all replacement windows should adhere to by law since April 2002. The FENSA scheme ensures that windows are installed to the correct building & safety regulations, and needs qualified installers to be approved. The work must then be checked and certified by FENSA inspectors. So the question stands were these windows and safety catches installed by qualified FENSA installers, in 2004 as June Morton claims?

More searching revealed another twist, I also found an unfinished newsletter to residents of Sandall House on Old Ford’s website that points to the fact that residents on the estate were to have their windows overhauled or renewed which was dated June of 2010. Now if this is true that the windows need replacing or overhauling, then this would surely back up somewhat the residents were saying regarding the safety of the windows.

So my questions are this;

Where are the planning applications for the installation of the windows in Sandall House in 2004?

Were the windows child-safe? and installed adhering to the FENSA scheme?, If so residents should demand to see the safety certificates.

Why does it seem from the newsletter that the windows now need overhauling/replacing?

……………………………

Sorry if any of this upsets anyone, this is definitely not my intention. Its just that something about this entire situation bugged me right from the start, not that my own delusions about all of this mean anything or prove anything in anyway, its just that i finally had to put this out there just in case others felt the same.

Again my heart goes out to the parents, family and friends of Leanne, and all those effected by this utterly tragic episode in the lives of everyone close by.

Please if anyone has any more information regarding the state of the windows or that complaints had been made, then please feel free to comment, because if safety was an issue then this definitely needs to be addressed and quickly.

RIP Leanne..


5 Comments »

  1. Old Ford Housing wasn’t even the Landlords of Sandall House in 2004 so how can they know the child locks were in place.

    Also I KNOW Leeanne’s Mother was asked to remove nailed up boards which were put in place by her father as the window was broken and Old Ford didnt bother fixing it.

    OLD FORD HOUSING HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS!

    Leeannes poor body still hasn’t been realeased to bury because on the investigation.

    Comment by A family member — October 4, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

    • Can I add that the boards were not put up by her father but her step father. Her FATHER however many months down the line is still upset and angry surrounding his daughters death and still waiting for the inquest to take place. As expected all family members are still very upset about this tragedy and await the full results from the inquest.

      Comment by Emma — February 24, 2011 @ 12:54 am

  2. She went to my school! And plus she was a kind mate of mine!!

    Comment by Tanni — November 6, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  3. i miss her

    Comment by ellie — November 29, 2010 @ 6:29 pm

  4. This is such a tragedy, leannes life was taken in such a horrific way. for all those people especially fatoomphs its not your business to get involved! find something better to do instead of making up your own theories. and as for the works that are going to be done to sandall house leave that for the residents to look into for the safety of their Own children i feel sorry for her family, they should be allowed to grieve in peace. god bless u leanne sleep tight angel xx

    Comment by sarah howell — February 25, 2011 @ 7:46 pm


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