Surrey

David Cameron urged to overturn legal aid decision

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

The Prime Minister has been urged to overturn a decision not to give the family of a boy who died during Surrey floods legal aid.

An inquest into the death of seven-year-old Zane Gbangbola, who died in February 2014 at his home in Chertsey, is due to take place in June.

His parents have been refused legal aid on the grounds the hearing is not in "the public interest".

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said David Cameron should assist the family.

She said Kye Gbangbola and Nicole Lawler should be treated "fairly and justly".

Tests have suggested carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of Zane's death, but his parents believe he was killed by floodwater contaminated by cyanide gas leaked from a former landfill site.

Image caption Natalie Bennett (centre) met Zane's parents Nicole Lawler and Kye Gbangbola

Ms Bennett said: "I am in awe of the family's determination to find out what happened that night and I'll do all that I can to support them."

She urged Mr Cameron "to make the necessary moves" to ensure they were given legal aid.

"That is within his gift, he is able to do it, just like in 2014 when he intervened to guarantee legal aid for a family whose two children were tragically killed by fumes whilst sleeping in their hotel room in Corfu," she said.

Mr Gbangbola, who was left paralysed by the same incident that killed his son, said without legal aid he and his partner would have to represent themselves.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Inquests are aimed at helping families find out the circumstances behind the death of their loved one.

"They are specifically designed so people without legal knowledge can easily participate and understand what is happening... legal aid remains available to help families prepare for an inquest and pay for representation, subject to means and merits tests."

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