London

Ella Kissi-Debrah 'pollution' death: New inquest call

Ella Kissi-Debrah
Image caption Ella used to live near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south London

A mother has delivered a 100,000-signature petition to the Attorney General, calling for a new inquest into her daughter's death.

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah wants the original findings quashed after evidence emerged linking the death of her child, Ella, to illegal levels of pollution near their home in Lewisham.

Ella, nine, died in February 2013 after experiencing three years of seizures.

During that time local air pollution levels breached EU legal limits.

An inquest into Ella's death at Southwark Coroner's Court on 26 September 2014 concluded her death was caused by acute respiratory failure and severe asthma.

However, a recent report by one of the UK's leading experts on asthma and air pollution, Prof Stephen Holgate, said there was a "striking association" between Ella's emergency hospital admissions and recorded spikes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM10s, the most noxious pollutants.

His report said there was a "real prospect that without unlawful levels of air pollution, Ella would not have died".

Ella, who was not born with asthma, lived 25m (80ft) from London's South Circular Road - a notorious pollution "hotspot".

She often walked to school along that road and Lewisham High Street.

Image copyright Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah
Image caption Ella Kissi-Debrah died on 15 February 2013

Ella was first taken to hospital in 2010 after a coughing fit that followed a spike in air pollution levels. She was subsequently admitted to hospital 27 times.

Ahead of handing her petition to the Attorney General, Mrs Kissi-Debrah said: "What I am trying to do is what every parent would do in my situation, which is simply to get to the truth about why my beautiful daughter and the twins' big sister is no longer with us.

"I would like whatever contributed to her death to be officially recognised on her death certificate.

"Ella suffered greatly in the last year of her life and it is right that this should be reflected."

Currently no individual death has been directly linked to air pollution.

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