Belly Mujinga’s family call for better workplace protections

The family of a railway worker who died with coronavirus have called on her employer to take action to protect its staff.

British Transport Police launched an investigation into Belly Mujinga’s death last month after it was reported she had been spat at by a man on the concourse of London’s Victoria Station, who said he was infected with Covid-19.

She and a colleague fell ill with the virus within days of the March 22 incident, and Ms Mujinga died in hospital in Barnet on April 5.

But police announced on Friday that they were not taking any further action, and on Saturday gave further details as to why.

The force said it had not found any evidence of anyone spitting during the incident, and that a 57-year-old man they interviewed had a test result showing he had not had Covid-19.

Ms Mujinga’s family said the outcome was “disappointing” but that they await the findings of a health and safety investigation into her work environment.

In a statement on Saturday the victim’s husband Lusamba Gode Katalay said: “We had never thought a prosecution was likely, but it was disappointing to get that news. We are not pursuing a prosecution. We are instead calling for her employer to take action to protect their workers.

“There are important things we need answers to. Her union, the TSSA, reported it to Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate (the health and safety body of the Office for Road and Rail), and that investigation into the safety of Belly’s workplace is still ongoing.

“Hopefully that will answer questions like why she was out working on the concourse at all given that she had a respiratory health issue.”

He also said his wife’s death should come under the Government compensation scheme, noting that while “money can’t bring her back or take away our pain” it would at least be a recognition of “the sacrifice that all key workers have made to help our country through this pandemic”.

No further action is being taken by police over the death of Belly Mujinga (Family handout/PA)
No further action is being taken by police over the death of Belly Mujinga (Family handout/PA)

Ms Mujinga’s employers, Southern Railway, said it followed all of the latest Government health advice, which it said has not advised that railway workers need to wear personal protective equipment.

A spokesman said: “More recently, the travelling public has been advised to wear a face covering to help prevent spread. To support our people, we in turn, have now provided masks to our frontline workers, which we initiated at the point at which the official advice was updated.”

In its statement BTP said: “Having reviewed all the evidence, senior detectives are satisfied that the incident didn’t lead to Belly Mujinga’s death.

“We have kept Belly’s family fully informed throughout the investigation and they will continue to be supported by specialist officers.

“Our thoughts remain with her family and we will continue to support them as they come to terms with the loss of their much-loved mother and wife.”

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