By Courtney Trenwith
Martin and Jane Weekes welcome twins Poppy, Parker 15mths after triplets died in Qatar mall blaze
The parents of triplets that died in a fire at the Villaggio Mall in Qatar last year have given birth to twins.
Two-year olds Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes, from New Zealand, were among 13 children who died in the Gympanzee daycare centre when the fire broke out in May, killing 19 people.
Martin Weekes told New Zealand media his wife Jane had given birth to a girl named Poppy and boy named Parker by caesarean section on Wednesday morning in Auckland.
The mother and babies were in good health, he said.
"It's definitely a relief that they've been born healthy and safely because it's always a worry," he told the Dominion Post.
"I guess probably more so for us because of having lost Lillie, Jackson and Willsher."
The twins were conceived through IVF following the death of the triplets, but Mr Weekes said there was nothing that could "fill the void" left by the children who were killed.
"The twins are just another addition to our family," he said. "The sad thing is that Lillie, Jackson and Willsher weren't there to greet them."
The Weekes had been working in Qatar for some time but returned to Auckland after the fire.
In March, Mr Weekes called for an independent and transparent enquiry into the deadly blaze, which investigators said was caused by a faulty electrical wiring in a fluorescent light.
“First and foremost I want to know that my children weren’t killed for no reason. What I mean by this is I want to know that this is never going to happen again. I want to know that the lessons that were learned on that day – and we know that they were significant by the general statements [the Qatari authorities] have made – are not repeated,” he said.
The children trapped in the unlicensed nursery were not discovered until half-an-hour after firefighters arrived at the scene.
Evidence heard during the trial has revealed that the Villaggio mall was built using illegal flammable materials, had faulty sprinklers and was not licensed to house a children’s nursery, Weekes said.
In June a Qatari court sentenced five people to up to six years’ jail for negligence contributing to the blaze.
The convicted are free while they await their appeals.
Oh my god. I am sooo happy for them. Congratulations.