Jacob Suliman made ‘distress' call to police hours before death

Family say they have unanswered questions following fire in St John’s Wood

Friday, 15th December 2017 — By William McLennan

Jacob Sulliman

Jacob Suliman

THE family of a man who died at a fire said they have been left with a long list of unanswered questions after it emerged that he had called police in a state of “distress” hours before his death.

Jacob Suliman, 65, was pulled from a burning room in a sheltered housing block in Alexandra Place, St John’s Wood, by firefighters at around 8am on Friday but he was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

The Met’s internal stan- dards department are reviewing Mr Suliman’s “contact with police prior to his death,” after it was

discovered officers had answered calls to a “distressed occupant” at Robert Morton House at around 5:40pm the day before.

The six-storey building is described by operators Origin Housing as “retirement housing”.

Mr Suliman’s brother, Mohamed, said that he wanted to see a full investigation into the fire and any earlier contact with emergency services.

He said: “He was old. He was disabled. It is natural that there would be very many ways to safe-guard from this accident. I want to know what are the procedures.

“My brother is dead. That can not be undone. But there are other old people in this home and similar homes and an accident like this should not happen.

He said the family had been told nothing about the nature of his brother’s emergency call and had not been contacted by the housing association.

London Fire Brigade said the cause of the blaze in still under investigation.

Mohamed, who lives nearby, said his brother had lived a rich and full life, travelling around the world to work as a hotel manager.

He was born in the Sudan and moved to Europe in the early-1970s, first settling in Bulgaria, before moving to Germany where he studied his trade.

He went on to manage several hotels and moved to Holland where he mar- ried and had a daughter.

He moved to the UK around seven years ago to be closer to his family.

He added: “He was a decent guy. He was funny, very entertaining. He loved life.”

His niece, Azza, said: “He was a people person. He just got on with people. He had the most infectious laugh.”

His sister-in-law, Fatima, a professor of political economy, said: “We are very distressed and we really want the system to answer our questions and be concerned about our concerns.”

A spokeswoman for Origin Housing said: “This is very upsetting news for all those involved and our thoughts are with the family.

“We are co-operating fully with the fire brigade investigation currently under way.”

A police spokeswoman said: “The male’s contact with police prior to his death has been referred to the Directorate of Professional Standards.”

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