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Belly Mujinga: Prosecutors rule out charges over railway worker's death
6 August 2020, 16:30
Prosecutors have ruled out charges over the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga, who was allegedly spat at by a man claiming to have coronavirus.
Ms Mujinga, 47, died with Covid-19 on 5 April, around two weeks after the incident at London's Victoria station.
She had a husband and an 11-year-old daughter.
British Transport Police (BTP) interviewed a 57-year-old man over the incident and prosecutors considered charges of manslaughter, assault and public order offences.
But charges were dropped following a review of statements from key witnesses, including colleagues, and CCTV footage of the interaction, around 15 seconds long.
Prosecutors said there was "no further reliable evidence" to bring charges, following an independent review.
Results from a Covid-19 test on March 25 confirmed the suspect had not been infected with the virus.
But the British Transport Police asked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to review the evidence and look into whether there were any further lines of inquiry, following widespread outcry.
Deputy chief Crown prosecutor Suzanne Llewellyn said on Thursday that Ms Mujinga’s death ”was a heartbreaking event that shocked the country”.
“We considered whether charges could be brought in relation to homicide, assault or public order offences,” she said in a statement.
“As part of this review, we studied enhanced CCTV, forensic materials and witness statements.
“CCTV and witness evidence was insufficiently clear and consistent to substantiate allegations of deliberate coughing or spitting, meaning no charges can be brought for assault or public order offences.
“Medical tests confirmed the suspect had not been infected with coronavirus, which together with the lack of other evidence rules out any charges in relation to homicide.
“Therefore after careful consideration and with all lines of inquiry explored, we have advised BTP no further reliable evidence has become available to change their original decision in this case.
“We have met with the family of Ms Mujinga to explain our reasoning, which we know will be disappointing for them. Our deepest sympathies remain with the family.”
Mrs Mujinga's husband Lusamba previously told how the decision to close the case took the family by surprise, coming amid anger over the killing of George Floyd in the US.
Speaking following anti-racism protests in June, he said: “Black lives do matter. Belly's life mattered. It mattered to me, to our daughter, our friends and family, to Belly's colleagues, and now it matters to many thousands of you out there.
“We were there, united in our anger and our grief. United in our determination to be heard and in our determination to get change. We want justice for Belly.”
An online change.org petition launched in support of Mrs Mujinga has been signed by more than two million people.