Coroner apologises to Belly Mujinga’s family over inquest delays

Mrs Mujinga, 47, died with coronavirus at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ryan Hooper
Friday 07 January 2022 14:12
Undated family handout file photo of Belly Mujinga (Family/PA)
Undated family handout file photo of Belly Mujinga (Family/PA)

A coroner has apologised to the family of railway station worker Belly Mujinga for the length of time it has taken for her inquest to be held.

Andrew Walker, a north London coroner, made the remark at the end of another administrative hearing ahead of the inquest proper, a date for which has not yet been set.

Mrs Mujinga, 47, died on April 5 2020 with coronavirus after she was reportedly coughed on and spat at days earlier by a customer at London’s Victoria station.

Mr Walker told the coroner’s court in High Barnet on Friday afternoon: “My deepest sympathies to the family, and my apologies for the delay in this matter.”

Belly Mujinga, 47, died with coronavirus in April 2020 (Family handout/PA)

He added: “It will progress, and it will progress swiftly.”

British Transport Police interviewed a 57-year-old man over the incident but said there was not enough evidence that a crime had taken place.

There were two other employees who became unwell while working at the station, one who died from a Covid infection and another who became ill with Covid-19-like symptoms.

Mrs Mujinga was originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she was the first female sports journalist to work for the national broadcaster RTNC, her family said.

She moved to the UK in 2000.

Her husband, Lusamba Gode Katalay, and daughter Ingrid were two of only 10 people permitted at her funeral due to coronavirus restrictions in place at the time.

Her death prompted an outpouring of grief and demand for answers.

Boris Johnson also raised the incident in the House of Commons telling Prime Minister’s Questions: “The fact that she was abused for doing her job is utterly appalling.”

A further pre-inquest review will be held on January 25, at which an expert is expected to be assigned to investigate the possible causes of Mrs Mujinga’s Covid infection.

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