A father living on the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower said he considered letting his six-year-old daughter die peacefully in her sleep rather than spend her last minutes ‘screaming in terror’.
But Richard Fletcher said he then became filled with an ‘incredible’ determination to give her a chance at life.
The 42-year-old told the inquest into last year’s fire, which killed 72, that when he looked out and saw flames along the length of the block, his first thought was to cuddle up in bed with his wife and sleeping daughter and let the smoke kill them all peacefully.
He said: ‘I thought it was kinder that we let her continue to sleep and die quietly.’
But then Mr Fletcher said he sprang ‘back into fighting mode’ with an ‘incredible energy’. He added: ‘I thought, my daughter is only six years old and has not seen enough of the world. How unfair would it be for her to go now?’
The three of them clung to each other as they made their way through the pitch-dark smoke-filled lobby outside their flat, to reach the then smoke-free stairwell. CCTV showed him leaving the west London tower with his daughter in his arms at 1.31am. The inquest continues.