Inquest to be held into death of Belly Mujinga who died of covid ‘after being coughed on’

7 May 2021, 19:58 | Updated: 8 May 2021, 09:42

An inquest is to be held into the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga, who died after allegedly being coughed on and spat at by a man with covid
An inquest is to be held into the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga, who died after allegedly being coughed on and spat at by a man with covid. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

An inquest is to be held into the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga, who died after reportedly being coughed on and spat at by a man who said he had coronavirus.

North London coroner Andrew Walker has decided there needs to be an inquest into the 47-year-old's death a year ago.

Police investigated her death but concluded there was not enough evidence to charge anyone. The incident happened on the concourse of London's Victoria station.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), said: "Our entire union will welcome the decision to hold an inquest into Belly's tragic death.

"As far as we are concerned there have always been a number of outstanding questions about what happened to Belly and an inquest will be a step forward in the fight for justice.

"Belly's death touched the nation and was keenly felt by so many transport workers who have bravely been on the front line throughout this terrible pandemic. We simply must know what happened and the lessons which can be learned.

"For all these reasons, and to bring peace to Belly's family, without doubt it's in the public interest to have an inquest."

A statement from the coroner's office said there was "reason to suspect that the death was unnatural".

The statement said: "There was a recognised increased risk for frontline workers including public transport employees, care home workers, emergency services personnel requiring the issue and use of PPE equipment.

"There are concerns about the provision of PPE and the deployment of Mrs Mujinga at the station which may have involved an element of human error.

"Two other employees became unwell whilst working at the station, one who died from a Covid infection and another who became unwell with Covid-19 like symptoms."

Angie Doll, managing director, Southern and Gatwick Express, said: "We will fully participate with the inquest. Belly worked for us for 10 years and was a dedicated and much-loved member of the team at Victoria station.

"The railway is a huge family and we remain heartbroken by her loss, and the loss of all transport workers who have passed away due to Covid-19.

"Our thoughts remain with Belly's family and colleagues, who we continue to offer our support and condolences to."

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