MANAGERS of a Sheffield block of flats where a toddler plunged to her death have insisted they take site safety ‘very seriously’.
Ryaheen Banimuslem, aged two, plummeted 60ft from the fourth floor of Wicker Riverside apartments, on North Bank off The Wicker, while playing and died of her injuries.
A glass balcony barrier panel appeared to be missing and residents told The Star how vandals had smashed the panes before, although the flats’ managing agent said none were missing or smashed two days before Ryaheen’s death.
Today one man, who did not want to be named, said vandalism was a ‘real problem’ at the riverside flats as well as maintenance delays.
He said: “We have all been saying for a long time that something bad was bound to happen sooner or later.”
Officials were yesterday seen photographing the scene where Ryaheen fell on Wednesday evening. Investigations by police, with the Health and Safety Executive, are expected to take some time.
A spokeswoman for Arim, the flats’ managing agent, said: “We understand the police and HSE investigation is ongoing and are co-operating fully with that.
“We would like to reassure residents that we take the safety of our sites very seriously.
“Our thoughts go out to the family at this very difficult time.”
Tributes to Ryaheen are growing outside the riverside development.
Flowers and a teddy bear have been laid at the entrance underneath the balcony where Ryaheen fell, it is claimed, through an opening where the glass panel should have been.
Her mother was close by at the time, but unable to stop her from falling.
Ben Needham, project worker for Caretech Supported Living which has four flats at the riverside development, said: “I saw the children and family playing in the rooftop garden - then as I moved to the flat next door I just heard screaming.”
An inquest into Ryaheen’s death is expected to open next week.
The 10-storey block of flats was built by Manchester-based Artisan Wicker Riverside in 2007.
That went into receivership and Arim was appointed to manage the development.
Joe Pitt, at London-based receiver BNP Paribas, became the receiver last November as Artisan had defaulted on its loan.
Mr Pitt, head of recovery and restructuring at the receiver, said: “We are aware of the tragic situation.
“We are awaiting further information and are of course cooperating fully with the investigating authorities.”