Project manager destroyed evidence about tower after blaze, Inquiry hears

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

A Grenfell project manager destroyed evidence about the tower after the tragic blaze which killed 72 people, the Inquiry into the fire in north Kensington has heard.

Claire Williams said she took the step in 2018. Her evidence was described as “shocking” by bereaved and survivors group Grenfell United.

Ms Williams said she was “binning notebooks” after she left the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation which oversaw the refurbishment of the 24-storey block of flats.

She was involved in keeping tabs on the budget for the building as well as liaising with residents about the plans to improve insulation and flats in their north Kensington homes.

It emerged that another key witness, Peter Maddison, the TMO’s head of assets and regeneration who was in charge of the regeneration work on Grenfell, had kept key evidence at home.

The Inquiry lawyer Richard Millett QC held up the “hard copy notebooks at his house” which have just been delivered.

They include eight day books and five diaries from 2013 to May 2017.

Mr Millett said Mr Maddison will need to give “clear and convincing explanations “why these documents have not been given to the Inquiry or the police.

Giving evidence to the Inquiry, Ms Williams revealed she had destroyed evidence – but had not told the Metropolitan Police who are investigating the fire.

She left the TMO in 2018 and destroyed some work notebooks.

“I did not keep them. If the police did not take them I binned them. I believe I looked at them and there were notes elsewhere,” she told Grenfell Inquiry chairman Martin Moore-Bick.

No one asked her to keep documents, she said.

She said: “I cleared my desk. I think I just tidied out the desk. I would have looked at them and thought there’s nothing here that’s not formal evidence.”

“I binned all of them but the last one which covered 2017-18.”

Ms Williams said she had not told the police what she had done despite knowing that the police and a public inquiry were looking into evidence.

“No I didn’t, because it’s not occurred to me. Today is the only time I have ever had a conversation about it,” she said.

She added: “There was nothing underhand about it.”

“Everything was of little value,” she added, and explained it contained notes from other work at the TMO.

Survivors of the devastating 2017 fire have said they are finding this stage of the Inquiry difficult, especially as they are unable to attend and support each other in person because of Covid-19 restrictions.

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