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01st Apr 2018

Mariam Moustafa’s father still can’t bury his daughter

He says his life 'cannot go back to normal' until her burial

Oli Dugmore

He says his life ‘cannot go back to normal’ until her burial

Mariam Moustafa’s father said his life “cannot go back to normal” until he has buried his daughter.

The 18-year-old died after being beaten by a gang of girls in broad daylight outside a shopping centre in Nottingham. An inconclusive post mortem means that police need further testing to be done in order establish cause of death in their investigation.

It is Islamic tradition for a body to be buried within days of someone dying but it’s possible the teenager might not receive a burial for 12 up to weeks.

Nottinghamshire police have confirmed that the tests are necessary to establish a link between Mariam’s assault and death. However her father Hatim Moustafa says he has been told this could take between eight and 12 weeks.

He believes there to be sufficient evidence to proceed with his daughter’s burial – having previously expressed a desire to do so in Egypt, where her extended family lives.

He said: “How can I sleep after what happened? My daughter is waiting in a cold room, it is not fair that these [people] are outside.

“I am in prison in my home with my family. I want to go back to normal but my daughter is in a fridge, she is still there.

“I understand everything that happened. You can do this if everything is not clear but it is all clear. Why do they need eight to 12 weeks, give me one reason why? Something is wrong.

“They have the CCTV, they have the hospital documents, everything is very clear. I do not understand why they do not make a decision.

“I am very angry, very upset.”

Mariam Moustafa was assaulted by a gang of six women and died three weeks later.

She was punched several times in Parliament Street before she tried to escape by boarding the No 27 bus outside the Intu Victoria shopping centre. The gang of women, who were threatening and abusive towards her, followed her onto the bus.

A police investigation has been blighted by a lack of witnesses, despite the attack happening during the day in central Nottingham.

Italian prosecutors have since opened their own criminal proceedings owing to Mariam’s dual Egyptian-Italian nationality.

British detectives have confirmed that they do not believe the attack to have been racially motivated.

At a press conference Rob Griffin of Nottinghamshire police confirmed the incident was reported as a racially motivated attack, but said the investigation has since revealed that this was not the case.

“We had recorded a hate incident, however, the investigation has progressed really well … we have been able to establish what happened on 20 February, and all the evidence indicates that this incident is not in any way hate-related,” he said.

“We now know that a group of six girls were involved in the incident and we believe that we have identified all six of those girls.”

A 17-year-old girl, who was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, remains on bail.

Other teenagers are under “active investigation,” police said.

Egyptian social media has been ablaze with , meaning: “Mariam’s rights will not be lost.” There has been an international outcry, with Mariam’s family members receiving support and messages of condolence from across the world.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that the “painful incident” of Miss Moustafa’s death “cannot go unpunished,” adding that any officials responsible for medical negligence should also be held to account.

Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust said its “initial review of this tragic case does not indicate any significant untoward incident on the trust’s part, however we will fully examine the family’s concerns.”

Anyone with any information about the assault is urged to call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 and quote incident number 335 of February 21.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.