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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Files ‘lost forever’ in Grenfell inquiry

The inquiry into the Grenfell fire disaster in London which claimed the lives of countless people appears to have been wiped forever from a laptop, losing emails, documents and design drawings relating to the refurbishment which led to the fire. An inquiry into the fire announced the news Monday.

Daniel Aketell-Jones  worked for cladding specialists Harley Facades until March 2016 and he let the hearing knew he erased his work computer after agreeing to keep the device despite leaving the company.

Aketell-Jones told a shocked inquiry that he had made the assumption his work would remain on the Harley servers, which it did not, and has denied claims he arranged for his file to be deleted from the company’s systems.

“I believed everything would be kept on the company server because all the laptops just attached into the server and all the emails were retained on there,” he said.

Harley MD Ray Bailey said every Harley employee who worked on the refurbishment was able to pass on files in the days following the June 2017 fire – apart from Mr Anketell-Jones.

 “As for Daniel Anketell-Jones, he left Harley some months before the fire,” Bailey said, “By that stage he had both deleted all of his Harley related emails from his laptop and had arranged with our service provider to remove his email file from our systems.”

When inquiry lawyer Kate Grange QC asked Mr Anketell-Jones about this, he replied: “I don’t know what he means by that.

“I didn’t arrange for that to happen. I don’t think I would have the authority or the security to do that.”

Mr Anketell-Jones continued: “In the past where I’d had a laptop break or replaced it, it was just a simple case of connecting it back up to the server and you had all your emails instantly once again.”

In his witness statement, he went on to say further: “The material that was deleted would have related to all Harley projects I had worked on during my time at the company including the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project.

“This would have included emails, documents, design drawings, calculations.

“This would mainly have been emails, as most of the working information was kept on the server.”

He added: “Most of the information on the laptop would probably have related to 10 Trinity Square as I spent a lot of time working from site where access to the server wasn’t as easy, so I would have kept offline files on the laptop for easy access.

“I doubt there would have been any files relating to Grenfell as these would have been on the server.”

This is undoubtedly a blow for the many people currently grieving and after justice from this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and strength are with them.

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