Mourners have this afternoon gathered for the funeral of teenager Richard Okorogheye – while also remembering the victims of Grenfell by wearing green.
Richard, 19, went missing from Ladbroke Grove, London, on March 22, with police finding his body in a pond in Epping Forest on Monday, April 5.
The student, whose funeral is being held at St. Thomas in Kensal Town, London, was said to be struggling with shielding due to the pandemic and suffered from sickle cell disease.
Today loved ones wore green in remembrance of the 72 Grenfell victims who died in the tower block inferno.
A live stream of Richard’s funeral was also shown to those gathered outside the church, with guests singing Amazing Grace.
Mum Evidence Joel, 39, raised the alarm the following day after he vanished – although police did not record Mr Okorogheye as missing until March 24.
Evidence said on a campaign page dedicated to her son: “Sickle cell disease has affected my child, it should be taken seriously at all times. Sickle cell disease is real. My wonderful child, loving and caring. Missing you Richard always in my heart.”
The heartbroken mum described her son as her “moon and sun,” the reason she wakes up each morning.
“Richard is my moon and sun,” she said. “He is the reason I wake up each morning and breathe.
“I worship the ground he walks on.”
Ms Joel told My London she was grateful for all the support she has received and that Richard wasn’t forgotten but will now ‘live on.’
The vicar leading the service today said: “Everyone is here for love. For Richard , for everyone and for you.
“So let us join together as friend and family connected together in the shared love of Richard to comfort one another in our grief. God will wrap his arms around him and carry him home.
“Sad as we are that Richard is no longer with us but knowing he awaits us in glory.”
Richard, who studied Business and IT at Oxford Brookes University went missing after telling his mum he was visiting a friend on the evening of March 22 when she last saw him.
Police later established that Richard had taken a taxi from West London where he lives to a residential street in Loughton, Essex where he was seen on CCTV walking in the direction of Epping Forest.
After an extensive search of the area involving specialist divers, a body was discovered on April 5 which was formally identified to be Richard’s.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating complaints and is considering whether race played a role in the way the Metropolitan Police handled the case.
The force said it could not discuss specifics while there is an ongoing investigation.
Announcing a probe on Monday, the IOPC’s regional director Sal Naseem said: “Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic loss.
“We have spoken to his family and explained our role.
“Our investigation will establish whether the police responded appropriately to the concerns raised that Richard was missing.
“We will examine whether the force appropriately risk assessed those reports, and if the amount of resources the Metropolitan Police dedicated to its enquiries were suitable based on the information known by the police and the risks posed.
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“As there is a mandatory requirement for police forces to refer to us incidents which result in a death or serious injury, we will examine the actions and decisions of the police when dealing with the missing person report made in respect of a vulnerable young man.
“We will also consider whether Richard’s or his mother’s ethnicity played a part in the way the initial reports of his disappearance were handled.”