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Calls for Grenfell victim to be released from prison

ANNIVERSARY: Tomorrow marks the two-years since the Grenfell Tower fire

A GRENFELL Tower fire victim will spend the second anniversary of the blaze in jail as calls for his release continue.

Reis Morris was jailed for eight weeks last month after he was convicted of threatening a fire chief.

Morris and Matthew Hogan had been involved in a “heated and angry verbal exchange” when Morris put his hands around Hogan's throat.

The exchange was in relation to repairs to wind damage on the plastic covering of the tower. The damage to the shroud had revealed the charred skeleton of the building, which was causing further trauma to Reiss, his friends and his neighbours.

Following the blaze, which killed 72 people on June 14 2017, plastic sheets were put up to conceal the sight of the burned out structure.

The 29-year-old had previously been given a suspended sentence after he told Kensington and Chelsea council deputy leader Kim Taylor-Smith “I’m coming for you”.

MP Emma Dent Coad has written to the secretary of state for justice, David Gauke, asking him to release Morris from prison so that he can grieve and commemorate the victims with his community.

Coad wrote: “Like many of us Reis is traumatised and wracked with guilt after watching helplessly for many hours as his loved ones burnt to death. Reis is well known to me as a passionate community champion, and subsequently to review his case. Prison is no place for a bereaved and traumatised man.”

Morris, who is affectionately known as “Mr Latimer”, is a well known and liked member of the community. He has been devoted to campaigner for justice for the victims of the tragedy since he lost several close friends in the fire.

Supporters described him as a “wonderful young man”, called the prison sentence “barbaric” and slammed the decision to lock him up "at a time when he needs his friends from the broader Grenfell community around him".

Protests

Last night, Grenfell United, a campaign group for the bereaved and survivors of the blaze, projected statements onto tower blocks around the country in protest at the lack of action to make safe buildings in the wake of the tragedy.

One message beamed on to a tower block in Salford read: “2 years after Grenfell and this building is still covered in dangerous cladding. #DemandChange.”

Another on a block in London read: “2 years after Grenfell this building still has no sprinklers.”

Last month the government announced it would make £200 million available to replace unsafe cladding on residential buildings.

While 176 private high-rise blocks have been found to be covered in unsafe aluminium composite material cladding, only 10 have completed work to replace the dangerous cladding.

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