In February 2014, seven-year-old Zane Gbangbola was fast asleep in bed in his Chertsey home. But then a flash flood brought water from a neighbouring field into the Surrey house. With the water seeped gas that, lighter than air, rose upstairs.
Zane died. His father Kye (pictured above with a photo of his son) was also upstairs. He suffered a heart attack and is now confined to a wheelchair. His mother Nicole was downstairs and, because the gas rose, was able to raise the alarm.
In January, Kye Gbangbola addressed UNISON’s Black members’ conference: read our report here.
It was later revealed that the field near Zane’s house had previously been used for landfill, where deadly hydrogen cyanide can lurk. Yet an inquest decided that Zane had died of carbon monoxide poisoning – even though no sign of carbon monoxide was found.
Lee Belsten, the secretary of Surrey Fire Brigades Union, said: “It was our firefighters who detected hydrogen cyanide at the property and our members believe that the verdict of the coroner was highly questionable.”
Zane’s family is continuing to fight for justice – and UNISON is supporting them, backing a march to deliver a petition to Downing Street calling for an independent inquiry into the death of their son.
The march at the end of the month has been postponed because of the coronavirus situation. However, the petition currently has over 108,000 signatures and you can still sign it at 38.degrees.