Surrey

Zane Gbangbola flood death parents refused legal aid

Zane Gbangbola
Image caption Zane Gbangbola died at his family home in Chertsey, Surrey, during severe flooding

The parents of a boy who died during Surrey floods have said they will fight for "the truth to come out" despite being told they will not get legal aid.

Zane Gbangbola, seven, died in February 2014 at his home in Chertsey, with tests suggesting carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause.

But his parents believe he was killed by floodwater contaminated by cyanide gas leaked from a former landfill site.

They said they would now have to present their own case at his inquest.

Kye Gbangbola and Nicole Lawler were told by the Legal Aid Agency that their request for legal aid to represent their case had been rejected on the grounds that Zane's inquest did not concern "the public interest".

It had been due to start last month but will now take place in June.

'Broken parents'

Mr Gbangbola, who was left paralysed by the same incident that killed his son, and his partner have campaigned for further investigations into the death, and hope the inquest will bring answers.

He told BBC Surrey that without legal aid the family had no financial support for taking matters forward.

"An expectation that broken parents should have to represent themselves... that doesn't seem fair or right in any kind of compassionate legal system," he said.

Ms Lawler added: "The hardest thing you can do is read your child's post-mortem and then be expected to question the very people that did that... they've put us in an impossible situation."

The couple have appealed against the decision and hope they will still be able to get legal representation.

"Our love for Zane will keep us strong... the reason we survived was to make sure that the truth came out," Ms Lawler said.

"We will protect Zane and fight for Zane for the rest of our lives so there's absolutely no way that we will pull out whether we end up doing it ourselves or whether we're able to raise the funds by other means."

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