Mother fears for three-year-old daughter's life due to mould in council home
Terri Harrigan, 31, says she is scared her daughter Ariella, three, could die because of the mould in their council home in Hackney, east London.
A mother has said she is in fear for her three-year-old daughter's life because of black mould growing behind her bed in their council home.
Terri Harrigan, 31, said her daughter Ariella has been "sick most of her life" and she believes it could be down to the mould in their home in Hackney, east London.
Harrigan first discovered the mould after peeling back the wallpaper shortly after moving into the property in December 2019.
It was growing on walls in her living room, kitchen, both bedrooms, toilet, storage cupboard, windows and ceilings.
She said it had spread to clothes and mattresses.
Harrigan attempts to wash away the mould two to three times a week but it keeps growing back, she says.
She said workers for Hackney Council "painted over" the mould after she put in a complaint.
Her daughter, Ariella, uses a salbutamol inhaler every day to help with her breathing.
Harrigan, an NHS receptionist, said a doctor has written to the council to say the mould is causing her daughter's health issues.
“Ariella gets sick at least every two to three weeks now," she said.
“She really struggles with her breathing. All I want is for her to be healthy and happy - my main concern as a new mum shouldn’t be that my three-year-old is going to die suddenly.”
She was shocked to discover the wall behind Ariella's bed and her mattress was "caked in mould".
She said: “Ariella has to sleep next to the wall, otherwise she’ll fall out of bed.
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“I try to do what I can by washing the wall behind her bed three to four times a week.
"I suffer from asthma and migraines myself, so the mould often makes me ill as well.
“The council really needs to do something about it."
She said Hackney Council had sent staff to her home three times since September 2020 but claimed they had merely painted over the mould.
An ambulance was called last September when Ariella's breathing became rapid.
“I called 111 and they sent an ambulance out to us straight away," said Ms Harrigan.
"She was only two years old at the time, and I was worried we were about to lose her."
She said: “I’m just constantly anxious about my children.
“We don’t have any money to move house – we don’t even have enough to get a new bed.
"Ariella’s mattress is covered in mould. I’m just terrified she’s going to die.”
A spokesperson for Hackney Council said: “We wholeheartedly apologise for the delay to repairs that Ms Harrigan has experienced following our survey on November 2022.
“The council carried out repair work relating to recurring damp in 2019, 2020, and again in January 2022.
"The most recent issue – in November 2022 – was surveyed, but this work was delayed as a result of problems with the supply chain and a breakdown of communication at our end.
“We have now made contact with Ms Harrigan to begin work to resolve all the issues at her earliest convenience.
"As part of this, we will look at stronger measures to prevent future recurrence."
Last November, an inquest heard that two-year-old Awaab Ishak died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould in a flat in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, where he lived with his parents.