A couple from Oldham whose son died wants answers about their mold-infested residence

Before their son died, a couple warned their landlord that the mold in their home was potentially lethal. They want his inquest to determine why their appeals for assistance were ignored. Prior to passing away in October 2022, Luke Brooks, age 27, battled pneumonia and respiratory issues.

Jimmy and Patsy Brooks believe that mold and dampness in their residence caused his health problems. They hope his investigation will reveal why the house was not repaired despite their warnings and requests. The family resided in the privately rented home on Huxley Street for nine years, but the problems reportedly began almost immediately after they moved in.

They reported that leaks caused by rainwater penetrating the roof or their own shower led to the growth of mold, that the boiler was damaged, that gas was not connected, and that the house felt cold even in the spring. Mrs. Brooks stated that it would be freezing at night in this house, which has no insulation whatsoever and it is like a wound that is not healing.

Mr. Brooks stated that they attempted to address the mold themselves and made numerous complaints to their landlord and the Oldham Council, which resulted in repeated visits by environmental health officers. According to him, they made their request loud and clear, yet their landlord did not spend the money to make the repairs. 

There was mold around the window frames and a hole in the ceiling where water has seeped between floors when the sources inspected the property in May of 2023. The family also shared videos and photographs depicting extensive black mold growth on the walls and ceilings, as well as water streaming down the interior walls during a rainstorm.

She reported that Luke complained of chest symptoms the week he passed away. Luke reportedly took paracetamol and ibuprofen and remained in bed after contacting NHS 111 and being informed he likely had a viral infection. He died two days later. She stated that the couple was devastated by the loss of their son, whom she described as "our best friend."

Since Luke's passing, the couple has moved into a new residence provided by Oldham Council, where they report feeling healthier and sleeping more soundly. However, they added that they felt they had done everything possible to repair the mold in their home and that they wanted Luke's investigation to determine whether their landlord and other agencies had also done everything they could have.

Joanne Kearsley, the senior coroner for Manchester North, will preside over the upcoming five-day inquest, which is scheduled to begin shortly. Ms. Kearsley also presided over the inquest into the death of toddler Awaab Ishak, which revealed that his family had been living in a mold-infested residence.

She concluded that he died of a respiratory condition brought on by exposure to mold in his home, a finding that sent shockwaves through the housing industry and prompted the government to enact stricter regulations for social landlords. A representative for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities stated that their thoughts were also with Luke's parents "during this extremely difficult time."

Due to the ongoing investigations into Luke's demise, the department is currently unable to comment further, they added.