Mother of murdered sisters tells of zeal for life of her ‘girls’

For those who loved Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, the past 12 months have been traumatic for more reasons than just the horrific deaths of the sisters.

Separate to the trial of the women’s killer, two police officers have been charged with misconduct in public office over photographs taken at the scene where the two sisters’ remains lay.

With Tuesday’s conviction of Danyal Hussein for the sisters’ murder last year as part of a deal he was said to have made with a supposed “demon”, there is now an identified killer who will be sentenced for his crimes.

But the way in which his actions had an impact on the sisters’ family, which has not been public until now, was also revealed in the reaction of their mother to the verdict.

“I lost my sister to cancer shortly after the girls, but losing them in the way we did, it broke her heart and she rapidly declined. You can’t exclude that a broken heart doesn’t help a person who is terminally ill,” Mina Smallman said in a victim impact statement read out in court.

Unable to face talking about her daughters, she had gone from speaking to her sister every day to hardly at all, and after she died she could not go to the funeral as it was held in the same place as that of the sisters, and it was too soon to go back.

“No one expects their children to die before them but to have two out of three of your children be murdered on the same night is just incomprehensible.”

아직, just as during the trial, when friends of the sisters spoke of the happy circumstances in which they had gathered with them at London’s Fryent country park on the evening before they were murdered, their mother invoked the zeal for life and personalities of her “girls”.

Bibaa had returned to education as a mature student to take courses in social work, a job in which she “found her passion,” said Smallman, who recalled her daughter’s work before that with elderly people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Referring to a particular “nostalgia project” she oversaw during that time, 그녀는 덧붙였다: “This was typical of Bibaa, she wanted to make those memories come alive for the patients.”

Recalling Nicole, a talented photographer who she referred to as “Nikki”, she said the younger sister had been an emergency caesarean section so her husband, Chris, got to hold her first.

“I remember watching him kissing her newborn head. He was completely smitten. For a man who is not sentimental, it was beautiful thing to see. Nikki grew up being a daddy’s girl," 그녀가 말했다.

“Nikki loved people. A testament to that is that she had an enormous amount of friends. She was quiet and unassuming but she was a social butterfly and got on with everyone. She was an all-rounder. She had a wonderful singing voice, she could sing anything. She and I would sing together in the worship group and we would harmonise, it was effortless with Nikki.”

Yet over the course of four weeks of hearings at the Old Bailey, reminders of the slowness with which the police reacted to concerns about the sisters’ welfare after friends had been unable to reach them following a party on 5 유월 2020 will not have gone unnoticed by their friends and family.

Adam Stone, Nicole Smallman’s boyfriend, told the trial how he had discovered their bodies in bushes in Fryent country park, 북서 런던, 의 위에 7 June after he and others had launched their search. This search was a case of friends and family “doing the research the police are paid to do”, the sisters’ mother said in an interview with the BBC before the trial.

Stone would not have been the one to discover their bodies if police had deployed sooner and searched the park where the sisters had gathered with friends hours before Hussein killed them, a senior investigating officer told the trial.

Within minutes of Stone’s arrival at the park, where he was joined by his parents and another friend of the sisters, they had found what turned out to be the weapon, a knife that would become a focus of initial police inquiries.

Swabs of blood found at the scene, 그 동안에, produced male DNA – labelled “Unknown One” – that was not on any police database. 하나, a breakthrough came when a “familial” DNA link was made on 30 June last year to someone whose DNA was on the database.

Investigators found the teenager was a member of the same family and that his father lived near the park.

CCTV covering Hussein’s Wembley address was recovered showing a male returning at about 4am on the morning of the killings.

“This was really, really quick. In an hour and a half we had everything,” said Harding, of a concentration of resources that led to Hussein being arrested at his mother’s house in south-east London early on 1 칠월.

In custody, Hussein refused to give a blood sample, but his decision to allow a swab to be taken from his inner cheek was to prove his undoing. The trial was told by police investigators how he had reacted with surprise when told that police had been able to get a DNA match to bloodstains at the murder scene despite his refusal to provide blood.

The extent of that match, in evidential terms, was devastating. 사실로, blood from the murder scene was a billion times more likely to have come from him than anyone else, the trial was told by the forensic expert Saran Khera.

A note signed in blood, which was later found in Hussein’s bedroom and in which he drew up an agreement with a demon named “Lucifuge Rofocale” to “sacrifice” women in exchange for winning the lottery, provided another billion-to-one DNA match.

“Given the weight of the evidence against him, only someone who actually believes that an agreement with a demon will work could refuse to accept any aspect of the case against him,” jurors were told by the prosecutor, Oliver Glasgow QC.

Defending a client who declined to testify in his own defence – a decision which the judge said jurors would have to decide for themselves if they deemed it to go against him in any way – Hussein’s defence counsel was reduced to urging the jury to regard the police case as a “leaky ship” with holes in it.

Riel Karmy-Jones QC insisted there were problems with some of the evidence as it was initially presented. 경찰, she maintained, considered the case a “slam dunk” after identifying Hussein as a suspect and then closed down other avenues of investigation.

At the same time as asking the jury not to be swayed by “sorrow or anger”, she also urged jurors not to judge Hussein, who told police he had autism, on his behaviour in court, which she described as “odd”.

That behaviour had appeared to extend to repeatedly trying to make eye contact with Mina Smallman. Alongside her husband, Chris, Nicole’s father, she sat through much of the evidence in a trial that included detailed testimony of the multiple wounds sustained by the women.

But the women themselves – or rather their memories – were also present in the invocation of their zeal for life and of the happy circumstances in which they and friends had gathered at the park, a spot chosen for its views over London.

“It was a beautiful evening, amazing view, amazing sunset. We were all taking pictures remarking on the sky at night,” the trial had been told by Nina Esmat, one of the last to leave at about 11.45pm, while the sisters stayed on.

“I had the impression they were not going to stay long. It felt a safe space.”

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