WHY WERE THEY FORGOTTEN?
WOMAN'S OWN|May 04, 2021
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were stabbed to death in a park by a stranger, yet their deaths went almost unrecorded
KARA O'NEIL

They were heading home after a fun night with friends. One of them called her boyfriend to tell him they’d be back soon. But neither of them were seen again.

In June 2020, photographer Nicole Smallman, 27, and her sister Bibaa Henry, 46 – a social worker – were stabbed to death in the early hours in Fryent Park, Wembley, northwest London. They’d been celebrating Bibaa’s birthday with friends, enjoying a picnic, dancing to music. When the sisters didn’t arrive home, concerned family and friends called the police.

The story sounds so familiar. This March, Sarah Everard, 33, disappeared in Clapham, south London. Just like Nicole and Bibaa, Sarah had been with a friend and, just as Nicole had done, Sarah had called her boyfriend to tell him that she was on her way home.

The police issued countless appeals for information, Sarah’s face was on the front page of national newspapers and, when her body was discovered almost a week later in woodland in Kent, there was an outpouring of grief.

But we might not be as familiar with Bibaa and Nicole. It would have been easy to miss the details of their story in national newspaper coverage, and their family believes that when they made the reports about the two missing women, officers didn’t take their concerns seriously. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has confirmed that one officer is now under investigation.

So, given there are more similarities than differences between the cases of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry and that of Sarah Everard, why were they treated so differently?

‘My girls mattered’

Mina Smallman, 63, is the mother of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry. She lives in Ramsgate, Kent.

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