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Full BTP statement in response to BBC Panorama episode

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Statement

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On Saturday 21 March 2020 Mrs Mujinga and two of her co-workers were working on the concourse of Victoria Station when it is alleged they were involved in a disagreement with a customer. This was not reported to BTP at the time. On 2 April 2020, Mrs Mujinga was admitted to hospital where she sadly died a few days later on 5 April. British Transport Police became aware of the incident on 11 May, when the press office was contacted by Sky News. Recognising the significance of the case, BTP then immediately commissioned its Major Serious and Organised Crime team (MSOC) to undertake an investigation and gather evidence of the incident.

CCTV is usually deleted after around 30 days, however, BTP was able to view what footage had been retained by the train operating company, Govia, despite the passage of time between the incident and report to BTP. This footage had not been “filmed from a screen”, it was a direct copy of the original source material. Following extensive enquiries and detailed assessment of the footage, detectives identified a man they believed could provide information to help them understand more of the circumstances of the encounter with Mrs Mujinga and her colleagues. He was interviewed under caution having voluntarily attended a London police station and answered all the questions put to him.

Having thoroughly examined and reviewed the evidence available to them, including the CCTV footage, witness statements and explanations given in interviews, senior detectives concluded that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate that any criminal offences had taken place and that the death of Mrs Mujinga did not occur as a consequence of that incident.

 A range of all possible offences were considered, including public order offences which are defined as harassment, alarm or distress caused to a person. In recognition of the wider public interest in the circumstances of this case, BTP invited independent review of this decision by the CPS, which concluded that our decision to not pursue any criminal charges was correct.

While the man was able to share a negative anti body test with officers, substantiated by his GP, it is important to be clear that this was not the basis of our conclusion. The test did not change the fact there was insufficient evidence to substantiate any criminal offences taking place, and without it we are confident the conclusion of the investigation would have been the same.

As well as the inconclusive CCTV, there were fundamental inconsistencies between the witness accounts of those that were present, over what was said and done by the man. In addition, expert forensic tests that were conducted on Mrs Mujinga’s clothing also indicated that there was nothing in the nature and distribution of results that necessarily indicated that anyone had coughed onto the wearer of the clothing.

Given the findings of the investigation, it would not be appropriate to release information about the man involved, his occupation, or his private medical details.

Throughout this process, we have kept Mrs Mujinga’s husband and family involved in our deliberations and have shared the information we have with them to help them understand our rationale for the conclusion we reached. This has included showing the CCTV footage of the incident to Mrs Mujinga’s husband and the colleague she was working with at the time. Both have been shown the same footage, depicting the encounter in its entirety.  Our specialist officers continue to support them as they grieve the loss of Mrs Mujinga.

We hope this helps contextualise our approach to investigating the allegations of a criminal incident, the evidence available to support prosecution in respect to those allegations and our on-going compassion for those who knew and loved Belly Mujinga.

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