Harlesden charity chair launches legal action to find out how his seven-year-old son died

Zane Gbangbola died in February (pic credit: www.totalecomanagement.co.uk)

Zane Gbangbola died in February (pic credit: www.totalecomanagement.co.uk) - Credit: Archant

The chair of a charity in Harlesden whose young son died after falling ill during the floods in February has started legal action to discover what killed him.

Kye Gbangbola clearing flood waters from outside his home near Chertsey Bridge in Chertsey, Surrey

Kye Gbangbola clearing flood waters from outside his home near Chertsey Bridge in Chertsey, Surrey (Pic credit: PA/Gareth Fuller) - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kye Gbangbola, an active member of the Sickle Cell Society in Station Road, was left paralysed from the waist down and his seven-year-old son Zane died after they both suffered a cardiac arrest in February.

Nicole Lawler, Zane’s mother, also became ill during the floods which hit their home in Thameside, Surrey.

A post-mortem on Zane found no clear cause of death and the family are currently awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

Officers had refused to be drawn on whether carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator pumping out flood water from their home may have been to blame.


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Mr Gbangbola, who also runs sustainability consultancy Total Eco Management, has instructed his lawyers to investigate the possibility that hydrogen cyanide may have played a part in his son’s death.

The colourless gas, which has in the past been linked to historic landfill sites, was found by fire crews at the scene.

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Mr Gbangbola believes recent disturbances to a piece of neighbouring land could have released the gas.

He said: “We have very real concerns for the welfare of our neighbours and the wider public in flood affected areas/regions as well as burning questions which come when you lose a child inexplicably.

“We are not looking for someone to blame; rather, we are looking to understand what happened and whether this could happen again.

“There can be no stone left unturned when dealing with such potentially fatal consequences.”

Vijay Ganapathy, from law firm Leigh Day, will be acting on behalf of Mr Gbangbola, he said: “There seems to have been a rush to judgment that this was carbon monoxide poisoning. There is a possibility that floodwater could have come through the contaminated land and into Mr Gbangbola’s house.

“We understand that the presence of hydrogen cyanide necessitated the clearance of neighbouring properties and a public health warning for those in the area feeling unwell to seek urgent medical assistance.

“If this is the case then many more people could be at risk and a full investigation of the ex landfill site needs to be undertaken as a priority.”

The grieving father has set up a website www.TruthAboutZane.com in his quest for answers.

He added: “We would like anyone with information to speak to Leigh Day in confidence, it is essential agencies that are meant to protect the public do the right thing.

“Walls of silence and misinformation are unhelpful to finding the truth about Zane, and protecting those at risk. Do not allow a child’s death to be swept under the carpet.”

Anyone with information can call Mr Ganapathy on 020 7650 1200.

Related link: Father of flood death victim Zane Gbangbola is chair of Harlesden charity

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