Doha trial 'heartbreaking'
Thu, 20 Dec 2012 6:04p.m.
By Tom McRae
The parents of the Kiwi triplets who were killed in the Doha mall fire say hearing of the failings that killed their children is overwhelming.
The Weekes triplets died alongside 16 other people when the Villaggio Mall was engulfed in smoke.
Today, a Qatari court heard the mall had numerous shortcomings that contributed to the deaths.
For the Weekes family, the stress of dealing with losing three children shows clearly, but knowing it should've never happened is almost too much to bear.
“I totally believe that every one of the defendants is responsible in some way,” says Jane Weekes. “There are so many different failings; it's people who failed the children and failed us by not doing what they were supposed to."
The owners of the mall, the childcare centre and a government official are all on trial for failures which resulted in 19 deaths.
“It's not a mistake when you know a building code has been breached time and time again - that's negligence,” says Martin Weekes.
According to Qatar Civil Defence, who gave evidence on day one of the trial:
“Such systemic failure in terms of design, in terms of building material and monitoring and the regulatory side - it's a real concern that the mall is still operating,” says Mr Weekes.
The couple are relieved seven months on they're finally getting some answers, but are struggling to comprehend how there were such major failings.
“It's beyond heartbreaking to know that the authorities were aware that parts of the mall were unsafe with things like the paint being used, but continued to let it operate and not let anyone be aware what it was like is horrific - it's such a needless thing to happen. Fires happen but people don't need to die like they did,” says Ms Weekes.
Without their children, Christmas is going to be especially hard.
“There's so many things we would've liked to do with the kids this Christmas - we had an amazing time last year. It really feels like the polar opposite this year of what last year was like.”
The Weekes say every parent should hold their child a little tighter for them this Christmas.
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11/01/2013 11:31:33 p.m.
Kerry Bell wrote:
I am suprised that Martin and Jane would say
"The Weekes say every parent should hold their child a little tighter for them this Christmas."
Ask Martin how close he held his 3 children this xmas. Not close at all...ignored and not spoken to by Jane. When we spoke to his kids xmas morning Natalya was in tears....not a great xmas for the surviving Weekes children. Yes Martin...hold them close..you should practice what you say in these never ending media interviews
28/12/2012 6:46:19 a.m.
All condolences to the Weekes family on their horrible loss. If convicted (yeah, sure - how likely is THAT in Qatar), the owners of Villaggio should go to prison for life for multiple counts of negligent homicide.
23/12/2012 9:03:30 p.m.
Alan Hudson wrote:
I went to Villagio a couple of weeks ago for the first time since the fire. I felt extremely uncomfortable. I will never forget the anguish the fire caused and how much Jane and Martin have had to bear. Time will dull the pain, but forgiveness will never come for such dereliction of duty.
22/12/2012 6:42:07 a.m.
tch tch, children of that age should never be taken out of their place birth until they reach adult age,I've been to some of these countries not to mention food contamination lack of hygiene, that their little bodies are not yet equipped to handle, of course health and safety is nonexistent
22/12/2012 12:38:27 a.m.
Dear Martin and Jane, i hope you will read this. I am still in pain for you and it will never go away.... I still can't beleive that such a horrible and as you say, avoidable, thing ( i can t name it...) has happened. I think of you. I feel for you. Be strong... You re going through the worst thing a parent could think of... All my thoughts and prayers go to you....
21/12/2012 12:08:40 a.m.
Nadia Khan wrote:
It's good to hear that some of the people involved are saying things. A little bit too late. I have not been to Villagio since that day as I can't face it yet. My heart goes out to the Weekes. I hope this brings a little closure for them.
20/12/2012 10:56:16 p.m.
I am relieved that the trial is finally taking place so all of the families can hopefully find some peace in it all,knowing how things work in Qatar, I only hope that the responsible parties are held accountable and the blame is not shifted down the "totem pole".
20/12/2012 10:09:06 p.m.
Absolutely heart breaking - I hope that changes will be made to the safety of malls around the world with this story being shared. Most big malls have day care facilities, and hope something good will come out of this tragedy.
20/12/2012 9:29:45 p.m.
Juan Perez wrote:
All our support to these families. Shame on Qatar authorities! If they want to become part of the first world many things have to change there.
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