Did air pollution kill my nine-year old daughter?

by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah

Did air pollution kill my nine-year old daughter?

by Rosamund Kissi-Debrah
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It turns out that, yes, it may very well have done, which is why I am asking for your help in funding my legal fight to uncover what led to her death, and prevent any other child suffering the same fate.

I have been campaigning for the Attorney General to agree to a second inquest into my daughter Ella’s death, as I don’t believe the first inquest took all the relevant factors into account.  My family and I need to get to the bottom of what happened to Ella and why.  

We are hugely relieved that the Attorney General has agreed to our request, and so now the fight continues. This is only the first hurdle we have overcome.  We need to convince the High Court to quash Ella’s original inquest and order a new one. 

It’s not going to be an easy journey, but we knew that from the outset, and we are determined to get justice for Ella. Having the effects of air pollution recorded on her death certificate would be a legal first.  It would send a clear message to our government that they must tackle the deadly impact of air pollution. 

If we don’t deal with this now we will be very soon tackling a public health crisis.

About Ella

My beautiful nine-year old daughter Ella was a bubbly, healthy, active and happy child. She loved cycling, skateboarding, playing football and won many certificates for her swimming. She dreamt of becoming a pilot, but she died on 15 February, 2013. I now have evidence that her death was connected to unlawful levels of air pollution.  

An inquest in 2014 concluded that Ella died due to an asthma attack.  However, the exact reason she died has remained a mystery. 

Discovering the link with illegal air pollution

Since her death I have become aware of the dangers posed by air pollution and discovered that our home, located approximately 25 metres from the South Circular in London, was a known air pollution ‘hot spot’ and started to put two and two together. 

I now have research evidence from Professor Stephen Holgate - one of the world’s leading experts in this field - that Ella’s frequent hospital admissions were linked to spikes of illegal levels of air pollution. He discovered that Ella’s final hospital admission happened during one of the worst air pollution episodes in our area. 

How you can help

In order to make sure this second inquest is as comprehensive as possible I need the very best legal representation.  

This isn’t just about Ella. Air pollution causes around 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK, and levels of nitrogen dioxide have been illegally high since 2010 in the vast majority of urban areas in the UK. 

The government has been taken to court three times over the illegal levels of air pollution in the UK and lost each time. And yet still the authorities are failing to act.  The statistics do not show the human impact of these government failings – I believe that Ella’s inquest will demonstrate her suffering over 3 long hard years and will provide the impetus for change.

I need to raise £25,000 to help me fund some of the legal costs involved in securing a new inquest into Ella’s death. This would go a long way to helping me uncover the real reasons that led to Ella’s death, and prevent any other child suffering the same fate. 

Your support could mean the difference between life and death for other children and adults living in our polluted cities. 

Please contribute and share.

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah (Ella’s mum) and her 11-year old twin brother and sister.


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