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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Toddler’s fatal fall ignites mother’s repeated pleas for safer windows

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Exodus Eyob’s heartbreaking death sparks investigation into council’s response to safety concerns

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In a heart-wrenching incident, almost two-year-old Exodus Eyob fell to his death from a seventh-floor flat in Saville Green, Leeds. As the Wakefield Coroner’s Court investigates the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, Exodus’s mother, Birikti Berihew, reveals she had raised concerns about the windows in their home with Leeds City Council multiple times.

Exodus’s older sister, Reem Semere, recounted the harrowing moment when she discovered her brother’s lifeless body on the ground below. The toddler had climbed onto her bed, located under an open window in Ms. Semere’s bedroom, leading to the fatal fall on July 2, 2022.

Despite a restrictor fitted to the rotating window in Ms. Semere’s room, which was meant to prevent it from opening widely, the mechanism was not engaged when Exodus fell. Berihew expressed concerns about the accessibility of the restrictor to children and had requested the council to install a secondary cable to enhance safety.

Ms. Semere highlighted the ineffectiveness of the restrictor, stating that even when engaged, the window could still open if force was applied. Due to the limited space in her room, she had prohibited her brothers from entering, taking precautions to lock the room when she was away.

On the day of the tragic incident, Ms. Semere had left her bedroom with the window slightly open due to the heat, unintentionally leaving it ajar. Upon realizing Exodus was missing, the family searched the flat and discovered the window more open than before.

Speaking through an interpreter, Berihew revealed her numerous attempts to communicate with the council regarding window safety, emphasizing the need for a more secure device. Despite the council acknowledging her concerns in November 2020, Berihew insists she had complained in person on several occasions, citing a potential language barrier.

Berihew disagreed with an expert witness who deemed the restrictor satisfactory, asserting her intimate knowledge of the house she had lived in for 12 years. The family’s solicitors, Ison Harrison, highlighted Berihew’s fears about her children’s safety, influenced by a previous tragedy in 2011 when a six-year-old fell from a neighboring tower block.

As the inquest continues, questions loom over the adequacy of safety measures in high-rise residences, urging authorities to address the concerns raised by grieving families like Exodus Eyob’s.

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