'They're not missing, they're dead,' locals claim Grenfell death toll 'in the hundreds'

'They're not missing, they're dead,' locals claim Grenfell death toll 'in the hundreds'

An angry mother-of-two has claimed she has not heard from 20 friends since the Grenfell Tower disaster, including a five-year-old boy.

The Metropolitan Police has said at least 79 people died when fire ripped through the high-rise early last Wednesday.

But many locals, including Sarah Colbourne, 44, who lives close to the 24-storey tower block, believe the true death toll is far higher.

"We know over 20 people who aren't answering their phones, who aren't responding to my emails. They're not missing, they're dead," she said.

"Children haven't turned up to school or activity groups my husband runs. They're not missing, they're dead.

"They're telling us it's 79. We're not stupid... it's in the hundreds."

'They're not missing, they're dead,' locals claim Grenfell death toll 'in the hundreds'

Speaking during a "Day of Rage" protest, which was billed as a day of action for the victims of the blaze, Ms Colbourne said she believed the authorities were releasing news of the deaths "bit by bit" in order to avoid a riot.

She was also critical of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's response to the disaster, which she branded "absolutely disgusting".

"They haven't even offered any help in regards to grief, to counselling, to trauma," she added.

She said the missing include one of her son's friends, whose mother she can no longer look in the eye.

"He didn't stand a chance - no sprinklers, no fire alarms," she said.

She told reporters the boy's mother was staying in a hotel and being looked after by friends and family, rather than the council.

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