A former Met Police detective whose daughter sustained brain injury after being attacked in Soho on the night council volunteers were arrested has blamed the incident on police being taken off ‘non crime’ issues before the coronation.
Sue McKenzie accused the force of a ‘lacklustre response’ and very little interest after her daughter, 30, was hit several times and knocked unconscious, giving her permanent head scars.
The incident happened at around the same time three council ‘Night Star’ volunteers were arrested for handing out rape alarms which police feared could be used to startle horses at the Coronation procession.
Mrs Mckenzie, who served 33 years in the Met as a detective, told WT that she believed officers being diverted to other issues led to her daughter’s attacker getting away.
She said: “Officers who should have been actively present protecting people on the streets of Soho, and making every effort to apprehend violent offenders who attack women, were instead deployed to arrest Council volunteers who were simply patrolling the Soho streets and helping keep women safe.”
“Had they done the right thing, then this life changing event might never have happened.”
Her daughter was out with friends on May 6, when at 3am when she tried to diffuse an argument between a man and a taxi driver. After telling her, “Trust me, I’m a savage”, he knocked her to the floor and kicked her in the head twice.
Police and ambulance arrived on the scene, with the two officers declaring the incident a common assault and insisted there was nothing they could do.
She was later taken to King’s College Hospital where she received excellent care, her mother said.
Mrs Mckenzie said: “In what world do two male police officers turn up and think “what a load of bollocks this is”?
“Despite calls and a complaint, there has been a lacklustre response and very little interest or investigation. I lodged a complaint on my daughters behalf about the police inaction as she is still too unwell to do so, but the overwhelmingly most important thing to her (and me) is that this violent man is caught before he attacks someone again.
“My daughter has a brain injury and will have a permanent facial disfigurement as a result of what happened.
“I’m very troubled by thoughts of how different things might have been if police not been taken off the streets to deal with non crimes. Someone decided that arresting council volunteers took priority over the safety of women on the streets.”
The Coronation weekend saw over 29,000 officers on duty for the Met, with 64 people arrested on the day itself, the vast majority potential disruptors of the events including several Republic protesters.
The three Night Stars volunteers arrested at 2am on the same night were later bailed without charge. Council Leader Adam Hug said last week he had written to the Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley asking for a full apology, which he said had so far been rejected.
Mrs McKenzie believes that the arrest of volunteers took resources away from dealing with more serious matters.
She said: “God knows how many police must have transported these volunteers to Lewisham and I know that they would have been all night processing them.
“Less than ten minutes away my daughter was getting her head kicked in, and I just think wrong. All wrong.”
But she added that the incident showed symptoms of deeper problems in the police force she had served in until 2021, and is particularly frustrated that police made no attempt to go after her daughter’s attacker.
“But I don’t think that’s solely why officers failed my daughter, and I think there’s a deeper problem at play there.
“I spoke to both of those officers and told them I had made a complaint about them. One of them started the conversation by saying ‘we don’t know how serious the injuries were but we’re not going to be able to get him’, and I thought, ‘what sort of attitude is that?’.
“Why would you say that to a victim of violent crime? Even if you don’t get him, make somebody think that you are going to move heaven and earth to try.
“That suggested to me a larger complacency about violence towards women.
“We want this guy off the streets. We want an investigation done, and want him to not be a danger to anyone else.”
Image: Met Police.