A rail ticket could be the key to finding a suspect who spat in the face of a train worker who later died from coronavirus.
The death of mother-of-one Belly Mujinga who fell terminally ill shortly after the attack appalled the nation.
The ticket officer called a colleague just hours before she died asking her to ‘pray for me’. Friends are demanding answers as to why bosses at London’s busy Victoria Station didn’t immediately report the attack to police.
One told the the Mail on Sunday: ‘If the police had been called, they would have come straight away, and could have arrested the man inside the station. Then, they had a one in ten chance of catching him. Now it’s more like one in a thousand.’
Instead, it has taken more than six weeks after the assault on March 22 for the investigation to be formally launched.
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Deliberately spitting on somebody is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment in the most serious cases.
After the attack, two ticket officers who were spat at fell ill with coronavirus. Mrs Mujinga, who had underlying health conditions, did not survive and died on April 5.
Detectives last week began collecting CCTV footage of the suspect, who was described as a smartly dressed, white British, middle-aged male. However police have so far resisted releasing footage to the public claiming they are hopeful the ticket purchased moments after the attack will lead them to their suspect.
Friends of the 47-year-old Congolese-born mother have organised a petition calling for justice and it has already has more than 220,000 signatures with nearly £40,000 raised for her family.
Mrs Mujinga, who worked for Govia Thameslink, left the family home in Hendon, north London, on March 22 to begin her 6am shift.
Later that morning Mrs Mujinga and a female colleague, also of African origin, were standing near the ticket office when a man, dressed casually in jacket and trousers, approached them.
The station was otherwise largely deserted. A staff member told the Mail that the man leaned into the two women and spat and coughed at them. ‘The women shouted, “Get away, get away” at him,’ the witness said. ‘They were telling him to back off.’
He then walked to the counter and bought a ticket.
Mrs Mujinga’s cousin and best friend Agnes Ntumba, recalled their last phone call.
‘She just said, “If I am not here any more, you need to look after my daughter”. I said, “Don’t give up, you’ll get better”. After that, I could not get her on the phone.’
The British Transport Police investigation was launched after Mrs Mujinga’s union tipped off the force about the attack.
A Govia Thameslink spokesperson said: ‘We are conducting an internal investigation and we welcome the BTP investigation which we are supporting.’
Mrs Mujinga leaves behind a husband and an 11-year-old daughter.
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