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Petition in support of railway worker signed by million-plus people

By PA News
Belly Mujinga, who died a few weeks after an incident at London’s Victoria station (Family handout/PA)

More than a million people have signed a petition launched in support of a railway worker who died with coronavirus after an incident on the concourse of a railway station.

Belly Mujinga died in April, a few weeks after the incident at London’s Victoria station, leaving a widower and an 11-year-old daughter.

British Transport Police (BTP) interviewed a 57-year-old man but said the incident did not lead to the worker’s death and decided not to refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The number of people who have signed a change.org petition passed the one million mark on Friday – two months to the day since Ms Mujinga died.

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
Belly Mujinga’s husband Lusamba

The petition seeks justice for the family of Ms Mujinga, whose trade union the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) has received messages of support from across the UK and from countries including the US and Germany.

Ms Mujinga’s husband Lusamba thanked those who have signed the petition, saying the family had been on a “rollercoaster of emotions”.

The public reaction to the case being closed took the family by surprise, he said, adding it had come amid anger over the killing of George Floyd in the US.

He said: “On Wednesday, thousands of people protested in London to cry it loud that black lives matter. 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.

“We were there, united in our anger and our grief. United in our determination to be heard and in our determination to get change. We want justice for Belly.

“We want to know why she was sent out to work unprotected on the station concourse that day. We want to know why she was working when she had a respiratory condition.

“And we want justice for the families of all transport and key workers – they should all be eligible for the Government’s compensation scheme for NHS workers and carers who have sadly died from the virus.”

BTP said senior detectives were confident that the Victoria incident did not lead to Ms Mujinga contracting Covid-19, adding that the man in CCTV footage who they interviewed as part of the investigation had a negative antibody test, showing that he had never had the illness.

Police said detectives were satisfied the incident did not lead to Ms Mujinga’s death.

Southern Railway has said it is doing all it can to protect its staff.

Angie Doll, managing director of Southern Railway and Gatwick Express, said: “Our hearts go out to Belly’s family who we continue to offer our deepest sympathies to.

“While the conclusion of the British Transport Police investigation found no evidence of spitting, any loss of one of our dedicated colleagues from coronavirus is one too many.

“Our absolute focus remains on keeping all of our colleagues safe, and we continue to follow all Government health advice to protect them. We thank our key workers for their commitment at this incredibly challenging time for our country.”

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