Call for inquest into Covid ‘cough’ and rail worker’s death

THERE are new calls for a further inquiry into the death of a Govia Thameslink employee who was ‘coughed at’ by a passenger and died soon afterwards from coronavirus.

Belly Mujinga was working on the gateline at London Victoria during the morning of 21 March, when she and two colleagues were confronted by a man who was allegedly ‘screaming and shouting’.

Belly had a history of severe health problems affecting her lungs and throat. It is claimed that the man told them: ‘You know I have the virus’, and was coughing and spitting.

She began to feel ill a few days later, and died from Covid-19 at Barnet Hospital on 5 April.

There has been a clash of evidence over what actually happened on 21 March. British Transport Police launched an investigation seven weeks later, and interviewed a 57-year old man under caution. He denied spitting or claiming that he had coronavirus. He did admit that he had coughed, but said it was not on purpose. BTP concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring any charge.

Govia Thameslink Railway has also carried out its own investigation, but the evidence is still contradictory. It has not been possible to establish exactly what was reported to management on the day in qjuestion, while CCTV evidence was also uncertain.

A fresh investigation could take the form of an inquest. QC Martin Forde has told the BBC: ‘I feel there are sufficient doubts and conflicts around the facts of this case to justify an investigation.’

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