Prosecutors have ruled out homicide charges over the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga after medical tests confirmed the suspect had not been infected with coronavirus.
Mrs Mujinga, 47, died with Covid-19 in April, around two weeks after allegedly being spat at by a man who claimed to have the virus at London’s Victoria station, leaving a widower and an 11-year-old daughter.
British Transport Police (BTP) interviewed a 57-year-old man over the incident but said there was not enough evidence a crime had taken place, following a review of statements from key witnesses, including colleagues, and CCTV footage.
Detectives found there was insufficient evidence of spitting or another action that could lead to infection and concluded Mrs Mujinga’s death did not occur because of that incident.
But the force asked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to review the evidence and look into whether there were any further lines of inquiry.
Deputy chief Crown prosecutor Suzanne Llewellyn said on Thursday: “Belly Mujinga’s death from Covid-19 aged just 47 in April was a heartbreaking event that shocked the country.
“At the request of BTP, following their decision to take no further action in this case, the CPS has now independently reviewed the evidence and advised on any further lines of inquiry that might support a prosecution.
“We considered whether charges could be brought in relation to homicide, assault or public order offences.
“As part of this review, we studied enhanced CCTV, forensic materials and witness statements.
“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.
“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.
“We have met with the family of Ms Mujinga to explain our reasoning, which we know will be disappointing for them. Our deepest sympathies remain with the family.”
Mrs Mujinga was working as a sales clerk at the time of the confrontation on the railway station concourse on March 21 and died on April 5 after contracting Covid-19.
CCTV footage of the interaction, which lasted around 15 seconds, was said to not show any conclusive evidence a criminal offence took place, while results from a Covid-19 test on March 25 confirmed the suspect had not been infected with the virus.
DNA evidence from Mrs Mujinga’s clothing was inconclusive, while witness accounts did not provide a consistent enough picture to bring charges, according to the CPS.
Prosecutors considered charges of manslaughter, assault and public order offences but concluded there were no grounds to alter the police decision to take no further action.
Mrs Mujinga’s husband Lusamba previously told how the decision to close the case took the family by surprise, coming amid anger over the killing of George Floyd in the US.
Speaking following anti-racism protests in June, he said: “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.”
An online change.org petition launched in support of Mrs Mujinga has been signed by more than two million people.