Mum says race played a part in slow search for her murdered daughters



olice were slow to respond to the disappearance of two murdered women because they were black, their mother has said.

The bodies of Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, were found in Fryent Gardens, in Wembley, two days after they went missing in June last year.

Post-mortem tests revealed they died from multiple stab wounds.

Two officers were arrested and suspended after allegedly taking selfies with the bodies. Both officers, who are based on the North East Command, remain suspended from duty, according to The Met.

Speaking to the BBC, Mina Smallman said she is “convinced” that Bibaa and Nicole’s race played a role in the slow investigation into their deaths.

She compared the probe to the recent Sarah Everard tragedy which sparked a huge police response and widespread media coverage.

“We’ve received so much kickback from friends and colleagues who are saying ‘excuse me – where was this level of coverage and outrage for two of your daughters murdered’,” she said.

“If your child goes missing you deserve the people who are paid to do that job to do that job and find out what’s happened to them.”

She added that “the notion of all people matter is absolutely right but it’s not true,” saying the response to Ms Everard’s case and her girls “didn’t get the same support.”

Ms Smallman said she complained to the Met about the delay in finding her daughters and says she believes it was the family’s search that led to the discovery of Bibaa and Nicole’s bodies.

When asked about the death of Sarah Everard, Ms Smallman said she and her husband went “back in time, emotionally.”

“I know what that family will be going through and it is a hell,” she told the BBC.

“You can’t begin to understand what it is to lose a child under those circumstances.”

Ms Everard was found dead in builder’s bag in woodland near Ashford, Kent, a week after she disappeared during a walk home through south London.

The disappearance and subsequent discovery of Ms Everard’s body gained widespread attention, inspired protests and sparked a national conversation around women’s safety.

Ms Smallman added that she is “broken beyond words” as she approaches the one year anniversary of her daughter’s deaths.

Earlier this month, Danyal Hussein, 19, of Guy Barnett Grove in south-east Londonpleaded not guilty to murdering the two women.

He was remanded in custody to appear for trial from June 7.

In a statement shared with the Standard, The Metropolitan Police said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Bibaa and Nicole following their unspeakable loss.

“As part of a wider investigation into various matters pertaining to this case, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is considering the actions of police when Bibaa and Nicole were reported missing. This follows a referral from the MPS’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).

They added that one officer, based at the North West Command, has been “advised” they are under investigation but has not been “suspended or on restricted duties.”

“The MPS continues to co-operate fully with the IOPC on all matters. The families of Bibaa and Nicole are being kept updated by the IOPC.”

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