Belly Mujinga: Family of transport worker who died of covid fight for answers two years on
Transport worker died of covid two weeks after allegedly being spat at by infected passenger
The family of Belly Mujinga, who died of covid after she was allegedly spat on while working at a central London station at the start of the pandemic, are still seeking answers two years after her death.
Speaking on what would have been Belly's birthday on Saturday, her sister Sylvie Omango pleaded for "justice for Belly", saying "don't let her go like an animal".
On 21 March 2020, Belly and her co-worker Motolani Sunmola were sent to work on the forecourt of Victoria station without any PPE, despite pleading with their manager to keep them behind the safety of a plastic screen. A 57-year-old man is said to have spat and coughed on them, whilst being infected with covid.
The 47-year-old transport worker, who had underlying health conditions, died of the virus two weeks later, on 5 April 2020.
After police reviewed CCTV footage, it was announced on 29 May that the alleged assaulter had tested negative for covid and that while he had confessed to coughing, police were unable to prove his actions were deliberate - meaning no further action was taken.
The case was reopened following a wave of protests on 5 June 2020 - but British Transport Police reported no further substantiating evidence, and no charges were filed.
It's hoped an inquest will reopen this Summer - which can only be permitted if the coroner can find expert evidence to show that Belly more likely than not contracted covid at work.
“Life is not like before,” Belly's husband Lusamba Katalay said while paying his respects at the Covid Memorial Wall in Lambeth along with his 13-year-old daughter, Ingrid.
The family marked Belly's birthday by adding a heart to the wall on Saturday.
Joining them at the memorial, Labour MP for Streatham Bell Ribeiro-Addy said even if the inquest were to take place, it's unlikely it will deliver the family vindication.
"I have watched many an inquest," she said. "When it comes to what has happened to a black person and even in incidents where you have seen the evidence and where you've seen where the failings, the rulings of inquest are no where good enough."
The family's lawyer Lawrence Davies said they were seeking an inquest to find out whether Belly's conditions at work, including the alleged coughing/spitting assault on her, caused her to contract Covid-19, and die.
He said: "we need to know what happened and why, and then to make those responsible fully account for their unlawful conduct.
"Hopefully this Inquest will begin to provide some answers to those questions and thereby afford Belly's family a measure of peace."
Angie Doll, the Managing Director of Southern Railway said the firm would work with the inquest, adding: “Belly remains a much-missed member of our Victoria station team and her story continues to move us all".
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