Victim of explosion, Sahara aged four

“Half a year ago, a tragic incident completely disrupted the lives of myself, my children and every resident who lived on Galpins Road. The loss of my beloved daughter has left us devastated, and the ongoing pain felt by our family, friends, and community is indescribable.

“It is unacceptable that a gas explosion occurred nine days after I reported the gas smell, leading to the death of my child. The gas explosion that claimed my child’s life, is unforgivable.

“As a parent, it is a nightmare come true to know that my daughter lost her life in the very bed where she should have felt safe and secure. My last memory of her is kissing her good night, telling her how much I loved her, and promising to see her in the morning. Sahara was a shining star in our lives, and her absence is felt deeply. Her unique qualities and kind spirit left an indelible mark on all who knew her. It is an honour to have been her mother, and I am grateful for every moment I had with her. I will never be able to get back the priceless gift that Sahara was.

“Despite this tragedy, we are still homeless and sleeping on the floor. My three children and I have lost everything, and it’s devastating to see them without their belongings and a place to call home. They miss their sister and are scared to go to school. We deserve support in this difficult time, but it feels like we’ve been left to fend for ourselves.

“I was devastated to discover that our personal belongings had been destroyed and thrown into a skip, I witnessed a grabber smashing my former home into pieces. Living just a few doors down, I saw the entire ordeal, but was not properly informed.

Family home destroyed

“This was particularly difficult for my children and me to witness. Despite my repeated requests for updates and an agenda outlining their plans off the demolition, the police and council failed to provide communication. My two young boys had asked about their toys but were not given the option to request specific items for the police to search for. 

“The toys, clothes, and other items were smashed and ripped, with dust, glass, and debris covering them. Sadly, the few items that were recovered were damaged and no longer held sentimental value, wiping away my final memories of my daughter. Seeing the condition of our belongings brought me to tears, particularly when it came to my deceased daughter’s broken toys. It added to my already overwhelming devastation and trauma.

“The treatment of a mourning mother regarding our belongings was disgraceful, lacking in empathy. No effort was made to clean the remaining items, nor were safety concerns considered. This left me to search through what appeared to be a rubbish heap or malodorous stable. The abandoned items were left in plain sight at the Chaucer Centre’s open car park, where locals and staff could witness me disposing of damaged belongings from my previous home. It was a humiliating and degrading experience.

“I worked tirelessly as a single mother to support my four young children, six weeks after a postnatal Cesarean section, to aid a GP practice’s IT system during the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020 to, enable remote working, despite risking my own life to serve and help others during the pandemic, why is it in our time of need my children and I have not yet received help from the government when it is needed the most.

“I urgently need our local council to provide a four-bedroom accommodation so my family can move forward and have stability. The overcrowded accommodation we are currently in, with 13 people, is unacceptable, especially as we lost our previous four-bedroom home due to the explosion.

“It’s unfair that we are being treated this way and left without proper support, while if the situation was reversed, social services would likely deem it unfit. It’s difficult to understand why the council is struggling to find a suitable home for us to live in after such a long time, and it feels like torture to be left to suffer like this.

“Despite the pain and chaos of this tragic ordeal, I am resolute in seeking justice for my beloved daughter, Sahara. My four wonderful children are my pride and motivation, driving me to fight for justice for what happened on August 8th, 2022.

“I stand with Galpins Road residents in seeking meaningful support and assistance from the government. I implore the Met Police, Merton council, and government to provide answers, justice, and accountability for the tragic gas explosion that took my daughter’s life. It is unacceptable that our community has been left to deal with the aftermath alone, and we need the necessary help and support to move forward.”