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'Daughters' deaths not as urgent because of race'

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Mina Smallman, the mother of two women found dead in north London, has expressed her sympathy for the family of Sarah Everard – and questioned why the deaths of her daughters received comparatively little attention at the time. Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were killed in a park in Wembley last June. Two officers have been arrested and suspended after allegations they took selfies with the bodies. Asked why her case had not received the level of outrage as Sarah Everard, she said: “Other people have more kudos in this world than people of colour.” The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Bibaa and Nicole following their unspeakable loss." "As part of a wider investigation into various matters, the Independent Office for Police Conduct 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). “ A man has been charged with the murders of Nicole and Bibaa. Producer: Harry Farley Video Journalist: Lorna Acquah

Video Transcript

MINA SMALLMAN: They were celebrating Bibaa's birthday. And they were dancing in the fields with lights and just having a real good time. And we never ever spoke to them again.

MISHAL HUSAIN: Did the police, then, actively start searching for them? Because you had reported them missing some time before and you'd been told that it would be actioned.

MINA SMALLMAN: No, they didn't. They-- we did that the whole thing.

MISHAL HUSAIN: So it was the family search, rather than the police search, that led to the discovery of their bodies. When you saw the way that the police were looking for Sarah Everard, and you relived the events after Nicole and Bibaa went missing, what did you think?

MINA SMALLMAN: Me and my husband we just went back in time emotionally and the anxiety. I know what that family, the parents, will be going through. And it is a hell. You can't begin to understand what it is to lose a child under those circumstances.

And then to have a further betrayal-- the very organization who is paid and we have an agreement with that they will protect us, they will honor us, and behave in a way that gives our deceased dignity.

MISHAL HUSAIN: Even before this happened, you had the feeling, didn't you, that these were two Black women who went missing. And that that could have been part of why it seemed that there was no urgency about searching for them.

MINA SMALLMAN: Oh, absolutely, I'm convinced. I think the notion of all people matter is absolutely right, but it's not true. 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.

MISHAL HUSAIN: How are you? It will be a year in June.

MINA SMALLMAN: I think there's two sides to me. There's mom and then there's activist. As mom, I am as broken-- I am broken beyond words.

MISHAL HUSAIN: How hard is it to maintain that focus of trying-- wanting some good to come out of this, something to be learned, something to be different in the future, and at the same time, the enormity of your own grief?

MINA SMALLMAN: I think the two run hand-in-hand. And that's what gives me purpose. That if their lives make a change in the way women are viewed and Black women, in particular-- because in the pecking order of things, it's been known that we are the lowest on the ladder.