Photo source: Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA
Belly Mujinga, a 47-year-old London transport worker, died on April 5 2020 after a 57-year-old man, who tested positive with COVID-19, allegedly coughed on her while on duty.
When the British Transport Police later checked the CCTV footage of the interaction between Mujinga and the man, they were unable to find substantial evidence. According to CPS, both witness reports and DNA evidence from Mujiniga’s clothing were inconclusive, ultimately unable to prosecute any charges (The Guardian).
Although the man was later interviewed by the British Transport Police (BTP), they concluded that there was “no evidence to substantiate any criminal offenses” and closed the case (The Guardian).
Though Mujinga’s family is considering suing the man for harassment and assault, Lawrence Davies, Mujinga’s family lawyer, stated how the police force refuses to reveal the name of the suspect, ultimately restricting them from creating any further civil claims and private prosecutions (The Argus).
As it has been the one-year anniversary of Mujinga’s death, Davies has stated to the PA news agency how they “are pushing for two things, an inquest and the name of the man who (allegedly) assaulted her. But the BTP won’t give the name. They have stonewalled me since September, so the family has complained to the IOPC (Independent Office for Police Conduct).” (iTV)
The BTP has come out and stated how the Data Protection Act restricts them from sharing any personal data and will continue ensuring the “safety and security” of the man involved.
ew Walker, the senior coroner, is considering continuing to hold on to the inquest into Mujinga’s death. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has advised Davies to wait on the coroner’s decision before he decides to answer any calls for public inquiry (The Guardian).
The death of Mujinga has sparked an increase in public outcry and concern for the safety of essential and frontline workers working during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, following the death of Mujinga, numerous people have joined the Justice for Belly campaign group to call for an inquest into Mujinga’s death.
Sonali Bhattacharyya, a volunteer from this campaign, has even come out and stated how “we’re here today on the first anniversary of Belly Mujinga’s death, united in anger and grief. A year on, and her family still have no answers. They still wait for justice.” (The Guardian).
ba Katalay, Belly Mujinga's husband, was later interviewed by reporters, he stated (through a translator) how his spouse was a “very good person, a wonderful wife at home and a very good mother”. He expresses a lot of grief for his wife and is seeking justice so that he and Ingrid, his daughter, could finally “have peace”.