Father 'lost everything' in blaze

Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, in 2009

Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, in 2009

First published in National News © by

A man who lost his entire family in a tower block fire told an inquest "everything that I built, everything that I dreamed of was over in three hours".

Rafael Cervi was giving evidence at the "super inquest" into the deaths of six people who were killed in the blaze at Lakanal House, Camberwell, south-east London in July 2009.

His wife Dayana Francisquini, 26, his stepdaughter Thais, six, and his son Felipe, three, all died in the tragedy.

He told jurors at the hearing at Lambeth Town Hall: "I lost my entire family, my wife and a couple of kids that I had.

"Everything that I built, everything that I dreamed of was over in three hours."

Mr Cervi told the inquest that he met his wife when her daughter Thais was three months old, at a Brazilian club.

He said a week later: "I met the little one, her name was Thais, and after that I couldn't leave both of them. When I saw her I was sure that this was my dream daughter."

The couple's son Felipe was "a little bit naughty, doing crazy things", the jury was told.

Designer Catherine Hickman, 31, also died in the blaze, along with Helen Udoaka, 34, and her three-week-old daughter Michelle.

Mrs Udoaka's husband Mbet told the hearing that he met his wife in Nigeria in 2003, and they got married four years later. She had a degree in business management but was on maternity leave with 20-day-old Michelle at the time of their deaths.

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