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Bosses at hotel where Afghan refugee fell were warned about windows

Bosses at high-rise Sheffield hotel where Afghan refugee, five, fell 70ft to his death were warned about windows two YEARS ago by guests who said ‘I was scared my children would fall out’

  • The OYO Metropolitan Hotel in Sheffield was blasted in reviews over its windows
  • One even pointed out they were terrified of opening it amid fears child would fall
  • Last night the first picture emerged of the five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell
  • Mohammed Monib Majeedi was looking out his ninth floor bedroom when he fell

Bosses at a British hotel where an Afghan refugee fell to his death just days after escaping the Taliban were warned about the safety of its windows two years ago.

The OYO Metropolitan Hotel in Sheffield was blasted in reviews over how far they opened at the high-rise block.

One even pointed out they were terrified of opening it amid fears their children would fall out.

Last night the first picture emerged of the five-year-old Afghan refugee who fell 70ft to his death at the site.

Mohammed Monib Majeedi was peering down from his ninth floor bedroom when he plunged to his death at 2.30pm on Wednesday.

The boy had been staying with his mother Shekiba, father Omar Majeedi, two brothers and two sisters since arriving in the UK after fleeing the Taliban weeks ago.

Mohammed Monib Majeedi was peering down from his ninth floor bedroom in the OYO Metropolitan Hotel, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, when he fell and plunged to his death at 2.30pm Wednesday

The boy fell out from a window and suffered fatal injuries (file photo of OYO Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel)

Online reviews showed customers at the OYO Metropolitan Hotel had safety fears two years before this week’s tragedy.

Guest Ashi Khan complained about the windows on the hotel’s Facebook page in 2019.

She wrote: ‘I could not open the window as it opened so wide I was scared my children would fall out.’

She also posted an image showing it wide open with the huge drop below down to the road. MailOnline has approached the hotel for comment.

Witnesses last night told how Mohammed’s devastated mother cried ‘my son, my son’ as the boy fell to his death.

The youngster, who is understood to have arrived in the UK with his family this summer, fell on to a car park behind the hotel.

South Yorkshire Police confirmed the boy was from Afghanistan and referred reporters to the Home Office for more details.

Emergency services were called to the OYO Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel on Blonk Street in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, at around 2.30pm Wednesday (scene pictured above)

Families are seen leaving the Metropolitan Hotel in Blonk Street, Sheffield, where the five-year-old boy fell 

How will the new resettlement scheme work and who will get priority? 

The resettlement programme is a new initiative to help Afghans forced to flee their country as refugees.   

It is separate from the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which grants haven to former interpreters and others who helped Western forces over the past 20 years.

The two schemes are explained below: 

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy:

This is available to any current or former locally-employed staff who worked for the British forces who are assessed to be at a ‘serious risk’ of being killed. 

Successful applicants will be offered priority entry into the UK regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served. 

Local staff who work or worked in the public eye and who could be at risk as the security situation evolves will be relocated to the UK on a routine basis, and those not eligible to move will be offered other support such as security advice and relocation within Afghanistan. 

Some 10,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are expected to be relocated to the UK under ARAP. 

Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme: 

The government is aiming for the new Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme to resettle 5,000 Afghan nationals who are at risk due to the current crisis in its first year, and a total of 20,000 in the long term. 

Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities. There will be a particular focus on whether people are at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban. The UK can reject cases on ‘security, war crimes or other grounds’. 

The initiative will be modelled on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme which launched in 2014 in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR identifies potential cases for the UK to consider and applicants are then vetted by British officials.

The government has insisted that the new route will not compromise on national security and any person arriving on the route will have to pass the same strict security checks as those resettled through other schemes.  

It said: ‘His family have now formally identified him and they are being supported by our family liaison officers. We would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.

‘Officers are appealing for anyone with information relating to the incident to come forward.’

The Refugee Council called for a review of accommodation offered to those fleeing the Taliban following the tragedy.

Witnesses said the boy’s father had worked in the British Embassy in Kabul. One, also an interpreter in Afghanistan, said: ‘I was in my room. I heard a sound, like I heard the body fall.

‘His mother was in the room with him. She was screaming, ”My son, my son”. When I came here (outside) I saw the ambulance and police here.’

He said the family came to the UK three or four weeks ago, landing at Birmingham Airport, then staying in Manchester during quarantine for Covid.

The family, including the parents and three boys and two girls, then moved to the hotel in Sheffield only three or four days ago and the father was regarded as, ‘the new guy’ among Afghans staying there.

The interpreter added: ‘If the dad is working for the Americans or the English then their lives are in danger in Afghanistan.

‘They came here to save their lives, they came for a new life here, but unfortunately…’

He said in his own room the windows will only open a few inches. The eight to 10 Afghan families staying at the hotel were being moved to another hotel on Thursday.

The interpreter said he and his own family, a wife and children, were hoping to be rehoused in the UK, after working for the British forces and escaping Afghanistan in July.

His friend, also an Afghan but who came to the UK in 2008, said they could not give their names as their families in Afghanistan could be killed or held to ransom.

Health and Safety Inspectors could be seen opening a number of the hotel windows following Wednesday afternoon’s tragedy revealing that more than one window left a 1ft 6in gap.

The OYO hotel is temporary home to around 11 Afghan families, who had helped the British Army and Government.

It comes after it was announced 30,000 Afghans will be resettled in the UK but just 2,000 have been evacuated so far in a new scheme.

Meanwhile, a separate programme designed to protect Afghan translators and other workers who were employed by British forces is now expected to cover around 10,000, up from the 5,000 previously suggested.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed in the Commons just 2,052 Afghan nationals had been extracted so far – with thousands more still waiting.  

Mohammed had to come Britain only a few weeks ago with his mother and father – a senior humanitarian worker who had worked for the British Embassy in Kabul.

On Wednesday afternoon at around 2.30pm Mr Majeedi was at work in Sheffield whilst Mohammed and his wife were in the top floor bedroom.

Afghan interpreter Jawed Jamal Akhtar, 35, who is also staying in the hotel with his wife and six children, said:’Mohammed was looking down through the window. He was leaning out of the window and he had fallen through.

‘I went with his mother to hospital, but you could see Mohammed was dead. Omar came to the hospital, he was crying.

‘The last time I saw the mother she was not good.’

He added: ‘After the boy fell his mother was shouting ”save my son please” just after it happened.

‘Just the day before Mohammed was playing with my children at the front of the hotel, they were playing cops and robbers.’

He said he has checked the windows and his room and they all only open 5cm. ‘Last night my children would not go to bed, they were really scared.’

Families hug as they leave the Metropolitan Hotel in Sheffield, South Yorkshire 

A woman is seen leaving the hotel where the five-year-old refugee fell and died on Wednesday

Mohammed’s father had worked in the role as a projects manager handling Afghan migrants returning to the country since December, 2020.     

Another resident Qahar Haqjo, 32, served as an interpreter with the British Army in Afghanistan for two years, and arrived in the UK with his family on 27 July. 

He said: ‘The boy is from Afghanistan. His father was not inside but he was living with his mother.

‘It happened at around 2pm and he fell from the ninth floor at the back of the hotel. He can’t have been in England very many weeks.

‘We spent two weeks in quarantine in Manchester and moved into this hotel five days ago.’

A fellow refugee staying at the hotel told YorkshireLive the boy arrived in Sheffield four days ago after escaping the advances of the Taliban in his homeland.

‘They came here to save their lives and now this has happened,’ he said. ‘It is so sad.’ 

‘I heard a big loud noise and then a couple of seconds later I heard the mother screaming, ”my boy!”’ said one of the guests. 

South Yorkshire Police at the scene of the death of a young boy outside the OYO Metropolitan Hotel in Sheffield 

Police vehicles were still in situ and security guards in hi vis jackets were turning people away at the main entrance and patrolling the stairwell yesterday

A member of the city’s Afghan Community Association, named only as Zabi, said: ‘It is very sad.

‘We are looking to go to see the family to help them.’  

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.

‘It is vital the Home Office 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.’ 

It is believed the boy fell about 70ft from the top floor window into an NCP car park.

Sheffield City Council health and safety officers were inspecting the hotel windows which they were able to open leaving a 1ft 6in gap at the bottom when they open.

Police vehicles were still in situ and security guards in hi vis jackets were turning people away at the main entrance and patrolling the stairwell yesterday.

The boy’s family are being supported by specially trained officers. 

Officers are appealing for anyone with information to come forward. Any witnesses, or anyone who has information, should call 101. 

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