Police investigating Grenfell Tower fire make first arrest

Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent
·3 min read

Police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster have arrested a man on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

The unnamed 38-year old was arrested on Saturday in Sussex and taken to a local police station, Scotland Yard said. Detectives released him the same day under investigation.

The arrest is the first by police investigating the June 2017 fire that claimed 72 lives.

It follows fury among bereaved and survivors at revelations emerging from the public inquiry about the handling of potential evidence.

(June 14, 2017) 

The fire breaks out in the early hours of the morning, prompting a huge response from emergency services, who are unable to bring the fire under control or prevent a severe loss of life.

(June 15, 2017) 

The then Conservative prime minister, Theresa May, visits the scene and orders a full inquiry into the disaster, and the government promises that every family will be rehoused locally.

(June 16, 2017) 

The communities secretary, Sajid Javid, orders an emergency fire safety review of 4,000 tower blocks across Britain, and it will emerge that 120 tower blocks have combustible cladding. Scotland Yard launches a criminal investigation into the Grenfell fire.

(June 18, 2017) 

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, says the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was banned in the UK.

(June 29, 2017) 

The retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick is appointed to lead the public inquiry. Kensington and Chelsea council’s first meeting since the disaster is abandoned after the council fails in a bid to ban the media from attending.

(July 4, 2017) 

Survivors have their first official meeting with the police and coroner.

(September 14, 2017) 

The inquiry formally opens.

(November 16, 2017) 

As the final death toll is confirmed to be 71 people, it is revealed that hundreds of households are still living in hotels.

(September 27, 2018) 

In defensive testimony at the inquiry, London fire brigade commissioner Dany Cotton said she would not change anything about the way the brigade responded to the Grenfell disaster, provoking anger from both survivors and the bereaved. 

(March 7, 2019) 

Grenfell survivors and the bereaved expressed frustration at Scotland Yard after they admitted no charges were likely until 2021

(October 28, 2019) 

The public inquiry report concludes that fewer people would have died had the fire brigade been better prepared. 

(November 5, 2019) 

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg is forced to apologise after stating that victims of Grenfell did not use "common sense" and leave the burning building. 

(November 27, 2019) 

Grenfell cladding firm Arconic reveals it has spent £30 million on lawyers and advisors defending their role in the disaster. 

(January 27, 2020) 

The second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry begins.

(October 19, 2020) 

A project manager on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment has admitted “binning” her notebooks relating to the revamp despite knowing a public inquiry and police investigation were under way.

Stacee Smith and Grace Mainwaring

Scotland Yard said in a statement on Saturday the arrest in Sussex did not relate to events heard at the Grenfell Tower inquiry this week. They did not name the arrested man.

The inquiry is not scheduled to finish hearing evidence until December 2021 at the earliest, after which the inquiry panel is likely to need several months to produce a report.