Last night, a vigil was held for sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, where their mother Mina Smallman, a retired Church of England cleric, gave an incredibly moving speech about the injustice of her daughters deaths.
'As a teacher and a priest I have given my life over to raising boys and girls that people looked down on and didn’t think that they could be anybody,' she told the crowd of 600. 'Now I’m doing it for my girls and I’m doing it for every one of the girls here.
'I am so tired of old, grey, boring white men telling us how to live our lives. You know nothing changes because they still have the power, they still call the shots...We haven’t really gone through the glass ceiling, they’ve just put a concrete one up. Well, we’re bringing in the bulldozers. We’re calling it out.'
Mina also condemned the lack of media attention surrounding her daughters initial disappearance, in comparison to the press coverage missing white people receive.
Earlier this year, we explored that very topic, asking 'Where is the outrage for Nicole and Bibaa?' At the time, Danyal Hussein was on trial for their murder - he has since been found guilty. Here's what we wrote previously...
The trial being held against Danyal Hussein - who is accused of murdering two women in north-west London last summer - has resulted in prosecutors sharing gruesome and distressing details of the way Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were killed. Facing charges of double murder and possession of a knife, Danyal denied both charges.
This week at the Old Bailey court, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC detailed how the two sisters were killed in a ‘frenzied and relentless attack’ before their bodies were concealed in the park undergrowth and found the next day by friends searching for them.
Nicole, 27, and Bibaa, 46, had been celebrating Bibaa’s birthday with friends at Fryent Country Park, where the prosecution argued Hussein was ‘lying in wait for potential victims’. He was accused of stabbing both women with Nicole found with eight stab wounds and Bibaa 28.
Friends of the sisters had left the park around 11pm, after which Nicole and Bibaa stayed dancing together and playing with fairy lights – according to pictures found on their mobile phones. The last photograph was taken at 1.13am where the prosecution says both women appear to look to their left as if distracted by something. Video footage taken near the park confirms Danyal left at 4am, the court heard.
It’s a devastating case, with prosecutors alleging that Danyal had made a deal with ‘the devil’ to sacrifice women in return for winning the lottery.
‘When the defendant’s bedroom was searched, the police found a handwritten document purporting to be an agreement between the defendant and a demon, in which he promised to sacrifice women in order to win the lottery and not to be suspected of any crime he had committed,’ Oliver Glasgow stated in court. ‘It would appear that the defendant had confidence that his plan would work since following the fatal attacks upon Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, the defendant purchased several lottery tickets and three lottery tickets folded up inside the agreement he had written with the devil.’
The court also head that Danyal had bought five kitchen knives in Asda 48 hours prior to the attack, one of which matches the murder weapon. With the trial likely to last another four weeks, there is still much to be heard about how and why Nicole and Bibaa were targeted on the night of their death – but one thing that’s already clear is how lacking the public outcry about their deaths has been.
Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, posted about exactly that on social media today, noting the lack of ‘press attention, condemnation from politicians and general public outcry’ compared to other cases – such as the overwhelming response to the disappearance and murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year.
Nicole and Bibaa were similarly targeted in what appears to be a random attack, with police wrongdoing also at the centre of this story – in November, two police officers were accused of taking pictures with Nicole and Bibaa’s bodies at the crime scene and sharing them with colleagues.
Yet, there have been no social media movements, nor responses from the government promising to tackle male violence and combat disgusting police behaviour.
‘We know cases where women of colour are the victims receive far less coverage than ones about white women,’ campaign group Reclaim These Streets stated online. ‘This is not OK, and as a society, we must do better. We ask you to think long and hard about the women whose names are never on the front pages.’
Speaking to I News, Ludo Orlando, one of the organisers behind Reclaim These Streets, said they are arranging a memorial on August 3rd, focusing on remembering the women who don’t receive as much coverage or outcry.
‘It’s very much a moment of say their names,’ she said. ‘We want to make sure there is a moment to grieve [Nicole and Bibaa] but also a moment to remember those girls’ lives. For every woman who goes missing, we tend to remember how they died but not how they lived.’