The following statement was read outside court following the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Luke Brooks.
Our Luke was really something special. He had so many talents like drawing, cooking, singing, and playing the piano. He didn’t always realize how amazing he was, but he was also really smart. We loved him a lot.
But the place we lived in wasn’t good to live in. It didn’t feel like a real home, no matter how hard we tried. For three years, there was no proper heating, and it was so cold that you could see your breath when you talked.
Even though the Coroner didn’t find direct proof that the house caused Luke’s death, we want to talk about the problems we faced.
We tried to tell people about our issues, but they didn’t listen. When we spoke to Environmental Health, we felt ignored. Even when Positive Steps reached out to them, they didn’t answer. Our mum even went to Oldham Council and told them, “Please, the house has already put me in the hospital. We need to leave before it hurts someone else.” Nothing was done.
Things need to change. Many people live in houses with mould, but they’re scared to say anything because they worry their landlord will kick them out. Tenants should feel safe speaking up about their living conditions.
We’re glad that the Coroner will be making a number of Prevention of Future Death reports after investigating Luke’s death.
Especially, we’re happy she has come to the view that there needs to be a list showing where all the rented houses are and who the landlords are in any given area. It’s surprising this system doesn’t already exist. We fear that this list not existing has meant that some landlords have felt they can treat their tenants badly without any consequence.
Luke’s death has left a big hole in our lives. Everything has changed because of it. We still want to call him sometimes, and then we remember we can’t. It’s like a puzzle missing a piece that can never be found. We might never fully get over this, but we hope that because of the interest people have shown in this inquest, and the changes that will come from it, other lives might be saved.