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Landlord was warned of mould that killed toddler in Rochdale flat

A health visitor wrote to housing officials expressing concern about conditions in a rented flat months before a two-year-old died after his exposure to mould.

An inquest in Rochdale is investigating the death of toddler Awaab Ishak who lived with his mother and father in a one-bedroom housing estate flat managed by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH).

Awaab’s father, Faisal Abdullah, first reported the damp and mould in autumn 2017, a year before the birth of his son. He made numerous complaints – phoning and emailing – and requested re-housing.

In December 2020 Awaab developed flu-like symptoms and had difficulty breathing. He was given hospital treatment and then discharged.

Two days later his condition at home worsened and he was seen at Rochdale urgent care centre where he was found to be in respiratory failure. He was transferred to Royal Oldham hospital where, upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest and died. It was just a week after his second birthday.

A pathologist told the inquest that the child’s throat was swollen to an extent it would compromise breathing. Exposure to fungi was the most plausible explanation for the inflammation.

Lawyers for the family say the inquest will consider a number of matters including concerns about mould and damp and how they were dealt with. It will also look at the sharing of information between agencies and how the family’s cultural and language requirements were taken into account.

Officials from RBH have yet to give evidence at the inquest but a statement was provided to the coroner on Tuesday in which RBH admits it “should have taken responsibility for the mould issues and undertaken a more proactive response”.

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Source: The Guardian, 8 November 2022


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