Father of girl who witnessed her mother die on doorstep begs Hackney Homes for new start

Tamika Malo, Taleyah, and Dwight Denis

Tamika Malo, Taleyah, and Dwight Denis - Credit: Archant

A father has hit out at “cold” Hackney Homes staff who insisted he move his young daughter back to the home where she witnessed her mother’s death in a road accident.

Teaching assistant Tamika Malo, 30, was returning home from picking up her Taleyah Denis, from a sleepover at a friend’s house last October when she was struck by a car in Lordship Road and trapped underneath as it crashed into a brick wall.

Since then Dwight Denis, 32, her partner for 11 years, has tried to secure a home to live in with daughter Taleyah, now eight, near her school in Grazebrook Road, Stoke Newington, but is at his “wit’s end”.

Hackney Homes will only re-house them in the borough if they move into the Lordship Road property first, an ordeal which Mr Denis said he did not want to inflict on his daughter.

He said: “The accident caused my daughter a great deal of trauma as it occurred directly outside the property, practically on the doorstep of where she lived with her mother.

“She will never forget her mum’s passing, but I do not want her to be constantly reminded of the circumstances of how and where she passed by moving back to the property.

“Flowers are still regularly laid at the scene. It would be completely unfeasible for us to return.

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“I find it so hard to comprehend how Hackney Homes are able to be so cold and insensitive when dealing with our case.”

Mr Denis is prepared to give up the tenancy of the one-bedroom flat in Newham where he currently lives, on the assurance the council would provide a property in Hackney – but fears making himself intentionally homeless first could have repercussions.

His daughter now spends time between her grandmother’s home in Hackney and his home in Newham – an hour’s commute to school.

The property in Lordship Road has been standing empty for a year while the dispute dragged on, but Hackney Homes has now taken back possession.

Heartbroken Mr Denis, who has been signed off sick with stress from his job as a plasterer, said: “My daughter has had to deal with emotions that most adults have not had to ever experience.

“I know she is yearning for stability.

“She is always asking ‘daddy, when are we going to move into our new place so I can have my new bedroom and we can put up pictures of mummy?’ – she wants a little bit of closure.

“I am not requesting this move just because I feel like a change or a new property, it’s solely because it meets the needs of my daughter at this point in her life.

Philip Glanville, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for housing said: “This is a very sad situation and we refute the suggestion that our staff have been in any way unsympathetic.

“As Mr Denis already has a tenancy in Newham and his daughter is currently residing with her grandmother, we have reluctantly taken back the empty property.

“We will be writing again to Mr Denis to invite him to discuss options for his family with senior officers.”