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  1. Updates from Friday 21 November 2014

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all for the BBC London Live page today covering the death of two men in Cadogan Square, Knightsbridge. We'll be back at 08:00 on Monday.

Police at the scene

A recap:

Appeal for witnesses

Police say next of kin are in the process of being informed and post-mortem examinations will be held in due course.

They have asked that anyone who witnessed the incident contact the incident room on 020 8785 8244 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police update

Police have said the two men who died are believed to be of Polish origin and were delivering a number of sofas prior to the railings on the balcony giving way.

They said the property was under renovation.

Neighbour's account

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

Sandra Panagopoulos, a neighbour, said: "I saw somebody lying on the street. I just saw someone lying there and a woman that was desperately trying to help, running into the building and out… and all the builders being very distressed walking around here and sitting down.

"And then somebody came and told me that two removal boys fell from the first floor balcony because the railing apparently fell down, they fell down trying to get a sofa up there."

London Evening Standard


reports Chelsea footballer Cesc Fabregas is among the residents of Cadogan Square, where two men are thought to have fallen about 20ft.

It was formerly home to England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Video from the scene

Channel 4

posts a video showing the scene earlier in Cadogan Square (with no commentary).

Lease requirements

Clem Byron Evans from Maskells estate agents explained leases tend to state that you are not allowed to move furniture through the ground floor so as to avoid damage to communal areas.

He added: "People tend to use hoisting devices but in this case they were using ropes."

First floor properties in Cadogan Square are the most desirable because they have high ceilings. Such a property can sell for up to £10m.

Media interest


tweets the scene earlier with media in Cadogan Square including a Swedish reporter:

Media in Cadogan Square

News on the hour

BBC London 94.9

Two men have died after falling from a balcony in Knightsbridge. It happened as a team of removers tried to get a sofa out of a first floor property on Cadogan Square.

Six other people were injured.

BBC London 94.9's Valley Fontaine reports from the scene.

'Terrible tragedy'

Chelsea and Fulham MP Greg Hands said: "It was a removal accident which was obviously a terrible tragedy for the men (who died) and my sympathy goes out to their families.

Cadogan Square

"It is a tragedy but the emergency services reacted quickly. It is being investigated by police and health and safety."

He said the men were removing a sofa but he was not sure if they were on the ground or on the balcony.

"People should know - they often underestimate removals (dangers) they can be tricky things to carry out in confined spaces in central London. Flats weren't designed for these kinds of operations."

On the investigation: "We need to know if proper procedures were followed and if they were, do we need to have a look at the procedures?

"I have never heard of a balcony collapsing in Cadogan Square but that's not to say they haven't."

reports estate agent Clem Byron Evans was nearby at the time of the incident. He told the Uxbridge Gazette: "They were hoisting a sofa up through the window when the railing gave way and they fell.

"You're not allowed to move furniture through the ground floor so people normally use a lifting truck to lift furniture up through the window of the first floor but it looks like these guys were doing it with ropes."

A workman's step ladders were seen in the window of the flat earlier.

Stepladders in the window
Getty Images

A spokesman said

Kensington and Chelsea Council is aware of the fatal accident in Cadogan Square and council officers will be on hand to assist if required in any investigation.

News on the hour

Two men have died after a balcony collapsed in Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge.

BBC London 94.9's Valley Fontaine is at the scene.

'Iron railings can rust'

Sinclair Johnston, an engineer who has worked on another property in Cadogan Square, said the decorative railings such as the one which collapsed cannot be depended upon to support weight.

"The iron railings can rust and the stone can become fragile and break up so you never really know how strong they are.

Forensice examination

"It's OK in an ordinary way but if you put any pressure on them, if you lean on them, there's no way of knowing - you can't depend on them.

"The ironwork is incredibly heavy so if it falls off it can be a disaster."

Forensic investigation

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

The forensic officer at the scene has been gathering evidence inside the apartment as well as taking photographs inside the police tent which was erected where the balcony fell.

HSE investigation

A press officer at the Cabinet Office has clarified the

Health and Safety Executive is in fact investigating the incident alongside the police. He said: "Enquiries are underway and we have inspectors at the scene."

'Unusual commotion'

Forensic officers examine the scene of the accident

Neighbour Abel Damoussi said there was lots of building work in the square, usually by well-known professional companies.

He said he heard an "unusual commotion" in the usually peaceful square: "It was only when I came out the building and found Cadogan Square cordoned off that I realised something had happened.

"You don't attach ropes to a railing when you are going to remove a piece of furniture. Usually an engineer can calculate the load bearing you can exert on such a rail, especially when you can see the balcony is suspended.

"I'm not an engineer but it doesn't take rocket science to know you have to count the weight of what you are taking down from a balcony before tying it to the railing."

Witness 'treated for shock'

Surveying company

Select Surveys was not involved in the incident but a spokesman said one of its employees was working nearby and had witnessed it.

He was subsequently treated for shock and sent home by the firm to recover.

Onlookers 'suffered from shock'

London Fire Brigade's Richard Scrivener, who was at the scene, said: "When we arrived we made the scene safe, securing parts of the iron balcony that had broken away in the fall.

"Crews assisted London Ambulance Service to provide first aid to those injured in the fall as well as to a number of onlookers who were suffering from shock."

Official findings


The brigade has

tweeted its initial report on the fatal balcony collapse: Our lines on the structural collapse in #Chelsea
are here

Forensic officers arrive

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

Forensic scientists have arrived at the scene to investigate the incident.

A police photographer
Getty Images

London Evening Standard


According to the newspaper, Cadogan Square was formerly

home to England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

It added the first-floor balcony, where the incident happened, is believed to have been connected to a five-storey terraced building.

'Left in shock'

Police at scene

A local woman saw two men lying dead or injured in the road on her way back from the hairdresser, her son said.

Vera Skeete said his mother Theresa Roberts was left in shock by what she saw at around 10.30. Mr Skeete said: "Mum was walking past and she saw them laying on the floor. They were not even covered up. It gave her a heart attack."

Josephine McDermott

BBC News Online

Ropes at the scene appear to be evidence of the sofa removal which eyewitnesses say was happening when the accident happened.

Ropes at the scene

'The sofa had fallen down'

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

Sudarma Rajapaksha, who works in a neighbouring building, said: "I have been here since nine o'clock. My colleague said something is wrong, that someone had fallen from the scaffolding but it turns out it's not.

"My other colleague heard the noise, the sofa had fallen down. When I came out I saw the road was closed - the police, fire brigade, ambulance all here in that time."

News on the hour

BBC London 94.9


The headlines this hour:

  • Two men have died after a balcony collapsed in Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge.
  • Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has warned that pupils at six private Muslim schools in Tower Hamlets may be "vulnerable to extremist influences and radicalisation".


tweets: We attended a structural collapse in Cadogan Square #Chelsea earlier. Crews made scene safe & assisted LAS in giving first aid to witnesses.

It appears the railings have sheared away completely.


Here's another picture from the scene:

Crime scene

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

Raj Ramanoop told me: "I was down the street there - a friend said there has been an accident and then the air ambulance came down.

"Then I knew something serious had happened. I heard that it was a sofa that was either going out or going in."

A Cadogan Square resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told BBC London: "The balcony did not collapse. They were trying to pull a couch up to the first floor apartment with ropes.

"Was apparently too heavy. The fence broke off and fell on the workmen below."

Duncan Smith

BBC News Online

"It has happened in a classic red-brick Regency square in an exclusive part of Knightsbridge.

"There is police tape in front of several houses with police officers in the centre.

"The balcony in front of the police tent is missing the decorative, black iron railings that all the others have.

"There are no emergency sirens here, just an eerie silence."

Cadogan Square location

Cadogan Square locator
Google Maps

BBC London reporter Duncan Smith has just filed this photo from the scene of the accident in Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge.

The scene

Balcony collapse in Knightsbridge

A recap: