Five men have been arrested after a sickening video emerged of Guy Fawkes revellers laughing as they burned a home-made ‘Grenfell Tower’ effigy, complete with screaming victims at windows.
The men, aged between 19 and 55, are facing a public order offence over the ‘vile’ effigy. Scotland Yard detectives are also investigating whether the culprits can be prosecuted for hate crimes.
They have not yet been named.
The arrests were made after Prime Minster Theresa May led a chorus on condemnation against the yobs, branding the video ‘despicable’ and their actions ‘unacceptable’.
On Twitter, the PM said: ‘To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.’
This is the horrifying moment a group of friends torched an effigy of Grenfell Tower on Bonfire Night which had faces on the side
These men crowded around the cutout and took photos. Do you know them? Email email@example.com
The footage emerged yesterday of a group of friends holding the ‘tower’ – complete with paper figures at the windows – over a naked flame until it caught alight.
A total of 72 people perished as a result of the blaze in the west London block on June 14 2017, prompting an inquiry into how and why the disaster happened.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation into last year’s inferno, said he was ‘frankly appalled by the callous nature’ of the video.
He added: ‘So many people lost so many loved ones, and many more have been deeply affected. To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile.
‘I can’t imagine the distress this video will undoubtedly cause to bereaved families and survivors.’
He said the Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team is ‘taking this matter very seriously’ and that any offences committed ‘will be fully investigated’.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was ‘too early’ to state what type of offences could have been committed, nor could they say whether Met officers were working with police from another force.
Khadijah Mamudu, whose mother and younger brother escaped the fire, said she was stunned by the footage.
‘I really don’t know what to say, for once I’m honestly lost for words,’ she said. ‘The community is stronger together and even this vile act by flag-waving, intellectually challenged, brainwashed sheep won’t derail the fight for justice, nor will it knock us off our stride as we walk forward, in dignity, in unity, in solidarity.’
London’s most senior firefighter has joined victims and their families in condemning the ‘appalling and disturbing video’.
These men helped move the tower at the start of the film and could face police action if proved to be a hate crime
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton, who told the inquiry she is receiving therapy after suffering significant memory gaps after being at the scene of the harrowing blaze, said: ‘This is an appalling and disturbing video.
‘To intentionally use and mock the Grenfell Tower fire in this way will cause deep pain and offence to the bereaved, survivors, the local community and all of the emergency services who will never forget that night. It cannot be justified on any level.’
The Grenfell Tower blaze and the plight of its victims has shocked Britain and the Bonfire Night joke will also shock the nation
It is not known when or where the video was recorded, or by who. But raucous laughter can be heard off-camera, with several bystanders speaking with southern English accents.
One can be heard saying: ‘Didn’t it start from the tenth floor, though?’, while others mockingly add: ‘Help me! Help me!’ and ‘Jump out the window!’ Another says: ‘Here we go’ as the fire takes hold.
Is the sickening Grenfell bonfire video a hate crime?
Scotland Yard have said the shocking video of Grenfell Tower being burned as a bonfire guy may not be a crime.
But critics including MPs say the group – when unmasked – should face the full force of the law.
The law says:
Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes.
Hate crime all into one of three main types: physical assault, verbal abuse and incitement to hatred.
First: Physical assault of any kind is an offence. If you’ve been a victim of physical assault you should report it. Depending on the level of the violence used, a perpetrator may be charged with common assault, actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm.
Second: Verbal abuse, threats or name-calling either in public are a crime.
Third: The offence of incitement to hatred occurs when someone acts in a way that is threatening and intended to stir up hatred. That could be in words, pictures, videos, music, and includes information posted on websites.
At the end of the clip, someone else can be heard saying: ‘That’s what happens when they don’t pay their rent.’
One witness is heard to refer to the model as being in ‘really bad taste’, something sarcastically agreed by another person off-camera, who appears to count seven others stood around watching.
The video ends as the model is completely consumed by the fire, with one bystander saying: ‘Perfect.’ Campaigners described the video as a ‘sickening act of hate’.
Natasha Elcock, from Grenfell United, said: ‘It’s a disgusting video. We hope that the police are taking this seriously.
‘Not only is it extremely upsetting to survivors and people who lost family, it’s hateful and offensive to everyone that has been affected by the tragic events of that night.
‘We try to keep our focus on the thousands of people across the country who supported us in the weeks after the fire, the hundreds that walk with us every month on the 14th and everyone who is backing our fight for justice and change.’
Justice4Grenfell said the video ’caused great alarm and distress’, and called on police to investigate.
A spokesman added: ‘We are disgusted and shocked at the inhumanity and callousness of those involved in this video.
‘This was an unnecessary sickening act of hate against those who, through no fault of their own, have experienced the worst since 14 June 2017.
‘This is clearly a hate crime and as a society we should never tolerate these types of blatant acts of hatred.’
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘I utterly condemn this sickening video. The horrific Grenfell Tower fire was one of the most devastating tragedies our city has ever suffered – and I urge social media companies to do the right thing and remove this content immediately.’
They then moved it on to a specially constructed plinth on top of a roaring bonfire
This yob got close to take a photo of it in distressing scenes sickeningly lampooning Britain’s worst residential fire
The shocking video shows the collapse of the tower and will horrify many people, especially those touched by the tragedy in west London
Labour MP Emma Dent-Coad, whose Kensington constituency contains Grenfell Tower, told MailOnline: ‘To recreate a very recent atrocity where people saw their own families burnt to death is reprehensible and criminal. These people should be subject to the criminal justice system.
‘I cannot imagine why anybody would find that funny. It is absolutely despicable.’
Westminster north MP Karen Buck tweeted: ‘Imagine how utterly lacking in human empathy you would have to be to do this. How incapable of understanding another person’s pain and fear. What a depressing, shameful episode’.
Police have been urged to investigate it as a hate crime
Men can also be heard making fun of the fire service’s infamous advice given to residents of the tower when the fire first broke out to stay in their flats.
A man said: ‘Stay in your flat we are coming to get ya’ while another counsels the flat residents to ‘jump out the window’.
London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said today: ‘This is an appalling and disturbing video. To intentionally use and mock the Grenfell Tower fire in this way will cause deep pain and offence to the bereaved, survivors, the local community and all of the emergency services who will never forget that night. It cannot be justified on any level’.
The video was first posted on Twitter by Kay Oldroyd who is furious at what has happened after it was sent to her via WhatsApp.
Sickened Ms Oldroyd has asked the Met Police on Twitter if it can be reported as a hate crime.
She said: ‘I want these beasts prosecuted. Flying the English flag and enjoying a good old laugh at the expense of 100’s of lives who died in the most horrific way.
‘This is the sick mentality of racist, bigoted individuals. As much as I hate to share this video I want them identified.’
Piers Morgan said: ‘My God, what am I watching? This is unbelievable. Who are these disgusting vermin’.
Good Morning Britain colleague Alex Beresford said: ‘How could these disgusting people do this to the families of Grenfell Tower. Pure evil racism in 2018’.
Yusuf Chambers tweeted: ‘Britain has its fair share of nasty creatures that can’t be described as Human! These people have filmed them burning a model of Grenfell Tower whilst laughing and joking! They must be found and prosecuted please share it until them are found’.
The video has caused revulsion online with MPs and celebrities calling it shameful and disgusting
The shameful home video begins with laughter as the effigy is taken into the back garden with people queuing to take pictures of it.
The laughter even continues as it placed on the bonfire and set alight, with the flames engulfing it in the same way Grenfell Tower was overwhelmed by fire.
The sickening film, believed to have been made in London or the south-east of England, has caused fury and has been shared on social media by people calling for the group to be arrested.
The video was viewed hundreds of times in the first half-hour of it being shared on Facebook by a woman from Croydon, who was sent it via WhatsApp.
She commented: ‘The United Kingdom 2018 #bigotryatitsfinest #Grenfell’.
Fellow Facebook users expressed their fury online. John G Steel wrote: ‘I’ve shared this and tagged one of the Firemen that went into that building 3 times. I hope these people are publicly shamed for this.’
Serece Murleen Simms posted: ‘Who thought of this? Sadistic craziness. How can you make sense out of this nonsense. So much for education. I’m speechless!’
Cheryl George added: ‘OMFG. I have no words. Karma is a b***h is all I will say an I hope it catches them very soon … absolutely disgusting.’
The Grenfell dead mercilessly mocked by sick bonfire revellers: The 72 people killed on fateful night of tower tragedy
The worst residential fire in Britain since the Second World War killed 72 people and displaced up to 200 families.
Those who died were of 19 different nationalities and included 18 children.
The youngest victim was the unborn baby Logan Gomes, who was stillborn after his mother Andreia Perestrelo and Marcio Gomes escaped the flames.
The Grenfell Tower blaze claimed victims of all ages and of many different nationalities
Six-month-old baby Leena Belkadi was found dead in her mother, Farah Hamdan’s, arms in the stairwell between the 19th and 20th floor of the building.
Active pensioner Sheila Smith, 84, was the oldest victim. She had lived in her flat for 34 years.
The 72nd victim, Maria del Pilar Burton, died in hospital more than six months after the blaze, from complications sustained after the fire.
The inquiry into the fire started with more than a week of heartbreaking tributes by the families of each of the victims.
Many families had prepared photos of those who died, some presentations included videos of the victims’ happiest times and the families’ most precious memories of them.
Ligaya Moore, 78, loved her Grenfell Tower flat on the 21st floor as it made her feel on ‘top of the world’.
She had lived in the UK for 43 years and enjoyed long walks with friends across London.
Her friend Nenita Bunggay said during an emotional tribute that Mrs Moore was her ‘mother, sister, everything’, adding: ‘She was so proud to live in Grenfell.
She would always say every time we walked past: ‘Nenita, that’s my building, 21st floor. It’s a big building and I love it so much, even though I’m alone there, I love seeing it every day.’
Residents of 12 of Grenfell’s 23 floors died in the horrific blaze last summer
Vincent Chiejina, 60, was found dead on the 17th floor of the tower, on which he lived.
In a video, his younger sister Obi told of how the pair had spent their early years in Nigeria before their family moved to the UK.
As a teenager he loved science fiction and ‘watched religiously’ Star Trek, while he excelled at maths in school.
His sister said: ‘I think he was also quite good at looking after people who were quite vulnerable like himself, so would he never reject anybody just because they were less privileged than himself, and he was always good at spotting that, not exploiting it, but wanting to quietly support them with whatever troubles they had but also making them feel good.’
One of the fire’s most high-profile victims, Khadija Saye, 24, died when she was on the cusp of a major career breakthrough.
Her friend David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, was among those on stage during her commemoration, which featured a snippet from the BBC documentary she had been due to appear in, following her as she launched a photography exhibition in Venice.
Her father, Mohammadou Saye, said in a statement read by his solicitor: ‘Khadija said to me one day: ‘Daddy, I’m in love with images’ – it was this passion that Khadija pursued to the end because it gave her great satisfaction and brough her some joy and happiness.
Firefighters from the fire stations of North Kensington, Chelsea, Kensington and Kingston stand during a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the fire at nearby Grenfell Tower in June this year
Father Abdulaziz, 52, wife Faouzia, 41, and children Yasin, 20, Nur Huda, 16, and Mehdi, eight, who lived on Floor 21 all died.
Abdulaziz, a porter at University College London Hospital for 22 years who was known as ‘Aziz’, was described as a ‘popular colleague known for being kind to his patients’.
Born in Morocco, he moved to the UK as a child and became the heart of the family when his father died.
Mother Faouzia El-Wahabi, was remembered as a wonderful baker who had a talent for sewing.
Yasin was a university student who studied part-time so he could continue his contributions to the community, officiating as a football referee at local games.
Nur Huda was in the middle of her GCSEs when she died and was described as an inspiration to those around her.
‘We all wanted to be like her,’ Mariam El-Wahabi, her younger cousin, said.
The youngest, Mehdi, was described by his head teacher as a ‘true team player’ who loved sports and was particularly talented at karate. He was the ‘baby’ of the family who collected toys and displayed them on his bedroom desk.
‘It is difficult knowing that Mehdi will never be able to play with us ever again,’ his nine-year-old cousin Sara said.