News 16 September 2020

Grenfell Inquiry: Files ‘Lost Forever’ After Laptop Wiped

16 September 2020

The inquiry into the Grenfell fire have heard how some emails, design drawings and documents regarding the refurbishment of the tower have been lost forever after being wiped from a laptop.

Speaking to the inquiry, former Design Manager at cladding specialists Harvey Facades Daniel Anketell-Jones – said he deleted all files from his work computer after agreeing to keep the device, although he left the firm in March 2016.

Anketell-Jones told the hearing he assumed his work would remain on the Harley Facades server but it did not. He also refuted a claim that he arranged for his email file to be erased from Harley Facade’s systems.

“I believed everything would be kept on the company server because all the laptops just attached into the server and all the emails were retained on there,” he told the hearing.

Harley Facades’ Managing Director Ray Bailey made a witness statement in which he said all employees at the firm who worked on the refurbishment were able to send emails following the Grenfell Tower fire except Anketell-Jones.

Bailey said: “As for Daniel Anketell-Jones, he left Harley some months before the fire.

“By that stage he had both deleted all of his Harley related emails from his laptop and had arranged with our service provider to remove his email file from our systems.”

Asked about claim from Bailey by inquiry lawyer Kate Grange QC, Mr Anketell-Jones said: “I don’t know what he means by that.

“I didn’t arrange for that to happen. I don’t think I would have the authority or the security to do that.”

Anketell-Jones told the hearing: “In the past where I’d had a laptop break or replaced it, it was just a simple case of connecting it back up to the server and you had all your emails instantly once again.”

He said in his witness statement: “The material that was deleted would have related to all Harley projects I had worked on during my time at the company including the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project.

“This would have included emails, documents, design drawings, calculations.

“This would mainly have been emails, as most of the working information was kept on the server.”

He continued: “Most of the information on the laptop would probably have related to 10 Trinity Square as I spent a lot of time working from site where access to the server wasn’t as easy, so I would have kept offline files on the laptop for easy access.

“I doubt there would have been any files relating to Grenfell as these would have been on the server.”