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Legal action begins after death of 7-year-old boy from apparent chemical poisoning

Father of Zane Gbangbola begins legal fight for answers to what caused his son's death and his paralysis

Zane Gbangbola

1 May 2014

 A Company Director who has been paralysed from apparent chemical poisoning, which also killed his son, has started legal action in a bid to find answers to what caused both him and his son to suffer cardiac arrests and to, in his own words, 'protect his neigbours'.

7-year-old Zane Gbangbola has been described in tributes as a truly wonderful boy. Zane was our reason to exist say his parents, he was a kind, loving, funny child with a beautiful smile.

He was held in high regard by his school and has received fine tributes from his Headmaster and teachers across the school.

In the early hours of 8th February 2014, Kye Gbangbola, Zane, and Zane's mother Nicole Lawler, were all taken ill at home in Thameside, Surrey.

An ambulance was called and all 3 were taken to hospital. Both Kye and Zane had suffered cardiac arrest.

Zane died later in hospital, Kye remains paralysed from the waist down. Post-mortem tests on Zane have found no clear cause of death.

Surrey Police say they are awaiting the results of a toxicology report.

The incident occurred during the floods, which consumed the area earlier this year. Surrey Fire Brigade attended and found Hydrogen Cyanide.

Mr Gbangbola believes there needs to be a thorough investigation into the potential effects of recent disturbances to a piece of neighbouring land which has now been discovered was formerly a landfill site.

Lawyers for the couple are now investigating the possibility that the house had been affected by hydrogen cyanide, as found by the fire and rescue team that attended the incident. Hydrogen cyanide is a colourless gas, which has in the past been linked to historic landfill sites.

Mr Gbangbola's lawyer Vijay Ganapathy, from law firm Leigh Day, 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"

Mr Gbangbola 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."

Over 300 mourners including the Surrey Fire Brigade, who Mr Gbangbola thanked during the service for their honesty and support, attended Zane’s funeral service held on The 19th April.

The Reverend Laurence Gamlen, of Holy Trinity Church in Lyne and Longcross said:

"But it was both hoped and expected that the agencies charged with carrying out this complex enquiry would do so with expediency, integrity and with due regard to the feelings of those most closely affected by this tragic event.

"It is a matter of concern that Kye and Nicole's grief is being compounded by the fact that the circumstances and the cause of Zane's death have still not been disclosed to them."

A website called Truth About Zane has been set up to campaign for more information and answers about his death.

Mr Gbangbola said:

“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."

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