No charges will be brought over the death of Belly Mujinga, the railway worker who died of Covid-19 after allegedly being spat on while at work, prosecutors have decided after reviewing the evidence.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had made the decision after tests found that the suspect who allegedly spat at Mujinga had not been infected with the coronavirus and prosecutors decided evidence “was insufficiently clear” to show an attack.
Mujinga, 47, died on 5 April, about two weeks after the alleged incident at Victoria station, central London. British Transport Police detectives interviewed a 57-year-old suspect but decided there was not enough evidence to show a crime had taken place.
Amid an outcry over Mujinga’s death, the force asked the CPS to review the case. On Thursday, Suzanne Llewellyn, the deputy chief crown prosecutor for the West Midlands, who reviewed the case, backed the decision not to proceed with a prosecution.
“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,” Llewellyn said.
“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.”
She said prosecutors had met with Mujinga’s family to explain the decision, adding: “Our deepest sympathies remain with the family.”
Mujinga’s death sparked a national outcry and a call for more protection for transport workers. Anger over a perceived lack of action in the case intensified at the beginning of June when Black Lives Matter protests took place across the country. In London, protesters chanted Mujinga’s name and called for justice.
Around the time of the protests, Lusamba Katalay, Mujinga’s husband, said in a statement that the family were surprised by the decision to close the case. “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.”
He added: “We want justice for Belly. Belly didn’t lie about being assaulted. Belly and her colleague were confronted and intimidated as frontline workers and their concerns and their fears were ignored. We continue to have questions after the police investigation.”