Call for Home Office investigation as police confirm boy killed in fall from Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel on Blonk Street was from Afghanistan

A child who died after a tragic fall from a high rise hotel room had come to Sheffield from war-torn Afghanisan.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 5:38 pm

Police confirmed more details about the youngster who lost his life after falling at the Metropolitan Hotel, on Blonk Street, who was aged just five, while it also emerged that there had been concerns raised in the past by guests about the safety of the windows at the hotel.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said last night: “We can confirm that the five-year-old boy who sadly lost his life is from Afghanistan."

It is believed his family had only recently arrived in the UK after fleeing the Taliban.

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Police outside the NCP car park

The boy has not yet been named.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “This a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the family who have gone through so much trauma and suffering to reach the UK.

“It is vital the Home Office carry out an urgent investigation into what has happened so steps can be taken to quickly learn lessons.

“We don’t know the details of the incident but it is imperative that families who come from Afghanistan are given all the support they need and housed in appropriate accommodation. They are vulnerable and often very traumatised.”

Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel

A member of the city’s Afghan Community Association, named only as Zabi, said: “It is very sad.

“We are looking to go to see the family to help them.

The boy’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and said yesterday tht no formal identification has taken place yet.

The hotel is reported to have been used to accommodate Afghan refugees who had assisted the British authorities in their home country.

A fellow refugee staying at the hotel was reported to have said the family only arrived in the UK four days ago.

Alison Teal, a Green Party councillor and on the council executive, had recently described Sheffield as a city of sanctuary for refugees from the Taliban.

She said: “There is an ongoing police investigation and we are advised we cannot make any comments.

“It’s a really tragic story.”

Sheffield Council bosses have pleged to provide any support they can to help the boy’s family

Coun Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “This is absolutely devastating, just so incredibly sad. As a council we are in close contact with the police and will provide any support that we can to the family – my heart goes out to them.

"It is not appropriate for me to comment further while police investigations into this tragedy continue.”

Police are meanwhile trying to put together a clear picture of what happened on Wednesday, the day he boy died, and have now appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

In a statement, the force said: “It is reported that a five-year-old boy fell from the window of the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel at around 2.30pm.

"The boy’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. No formal identification has taken place yet.

“Officers are now appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has information that could assist with our enquiries, is asked to call 101. You can also report via our new online portal. The incident number is 489 of 18 August.”

People living close to the hotel said they had noticed open windows in the past. Residents at the nearby North Bank Building said police had been taking photographs on the top floor of the NCP car park, situated between the Metropolitan and the nearby Holiday Inn, and believed the boy may have fallen from that side of the building.

The tragic death happened close to the North Bank Building, where two year old Ryaheen Banimuslem died after falling 60ft from the fourth floor of the block in 2012.

The hotel is situated just yards away across the Don.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that officials at a the hotel where boy fell to his death were warned two years ago of concerns over their windows.

It has emerged that concerns about how far the windows opened in the high-rise hotel had been raised with the venue on its social media sites in the past.

Former guest Ashi Khan posted a complaint on the hotel’s own Facebook page in 2019. She stated: “I could not open the window as it opened so wide I was scared my children would fall out.”

She also published a picture showing a wide open window and the view of the long vertical drop below to the road

The Star has contacted OYO Rooms, the company behind the Sheffield Metropolitan, for comment, but has yet to receive a reply.

Readers have sent messages of support to the boy’s family via The Star’s social media pages.

Leah Castleton said: “Poor family. Can’t even imagine how they are feeling at this moment in time!!!! Fly high little man x.”

Kelly Marie said: “Soo heart breaking! Doesn’t bear thinking about. RIP little man.”

PJ Eriksen said: “As a father to a five-year-old this rips my heart to pieces as it could happen to any of us. No words can describe what those parents must feel. Rest in peace young man.”

Elaine Willson said: “By all accounts it is a family just arrived a few days ago from Afghanistan, who must have been through hell. They will already be traumatised, and have now lost their young son, so please have some compassion for this poor family.”

Kaz Cameron said: “Heartbreaking my thoughts are with his family and friends no parents should have to go through this.”

Local journalism holds the powerful to account and gives people a voice. Please take out a digital subscription or buy a paper. Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor