Boy who died falling from hotel window in Sheffield was Afghan refugee, police confirm

Police say family is being supported by specially trained officers ahead of formal identification

Conrad Duncan,Sam Hancock
Thursday 19 August 2021 20:28

Related video: Labour MP criticises resettlement of only 5,000 Afghan refugees

A five-year-old boy who fell to his death from a hotel window in Sheffield has been identified as Mohammed Munib Majeedi, an Afghan refugee whose family recently fled the Taliban, South Yorkshire Police said.

The force added the child was formally identified by his family, who are currently being supported by family liaison officers.

It follows nationwide speculation about the incident, which took place at Sheffield’s OYO Metropolitan hotel in Blonk Street at around 2.30pm on Wednesday.

South Yorkshire Police swiftly appealed for information after it was reported that the boy had fallen from the hotel’s ninth floor.

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.”

He also called on the Home Office to “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,” Mr Solomon added.

Earlier, a member of the city’s Afghan Community Association, who gave his name as Zabi, told the PA news agency that the situation was “very sad” and that members of the community were working to help the family.

It has been reported that the hotel was being used to accommodate Afghan refugees who had assisted the British authorities in their home country.

“They came here to save their lives and now this has happened. It is so sad,” a fellow refugee staying at the hotel told YorkshireLive, adding that the boy had arrived in the city four days ago.

Police have appealed for any witnesses or anyone who has information on the incident to contact them on 101, using the incident number 489 of 18 August, or report via the force’s online portal.

Sheffield City Council confirmed earlier this week that it was supporting the Home Office’s Relocation Scheme to help people who supported UK troops in Afghanistan and now find their lives at risk due to the Taliban’s takeover of the country.

Alison Teal, a Green Party member on the council’s executive, was recently quoted as saying that Sheffield was a “city of sanctuary” for refugees from Afghanistan. “There is an ongoing police investigation and we are advised we cannot make any comments,” Ms Teal said on Thursday, before adding that it was a “really tragic story”.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson announced that the UK would resettle up to 5,000 people from Afghanistan this year, with a total of up to 20,000 people being welcomed to the country in the “long term”.

It came as former Tory immigration minister Caroline Nokes warned that the UK had a “duty” to help people trapped in Afghanistan due to the British government’s role in the 2001 invasion of the country.

“For 20 years, we have sought to help the people of Afghanistan, to liberate them from a terrible oppressive regime,” Ms Nokes told BBC Radio 4.

“We have worked alongside them, we have encouraged them to take up elected office, to play roles in society that they would not previously have done so.”

Meanwhile, former Tory defence minister Tobias Ellwood told the news website PoliticsHome that the number of people allowed to resettle in the UK should be “at least in the tens of thousands”.

“All the countries that were involved have a duty and an obligation to provide safe haven, given where we’ve left the country,” Mr Ellwood said.

Additional reporting by PA

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