I Screamed as Muggers Hit Me but No One Came

The Evening Standard (London, England), January 20, 2006 | Go to article overview

I Screamed as Muggers Hit Me but No One Came


Byline: ELLEN WIDDUP

A WOMAN who was mugged in a Tube station condemned Underground bosses today for failing to protect passengers.

Nicola McCartney, 22, was attacked in the ticket office at Westbourne Park as she was preparing to catch a train.

Three teenagers in hooded tops hit her round the head with a leather belt before taking her mobile phone and continued the attack even after she handed over her handbag. She screamed for help but the station was deserted, the ticket office shutters were closed and no one came to her aid.

Ms McCartney, an art student from Clerkenwell, said that a lack of security staff and poor CCTV cameras at Tube stations were to blame for violent assaults on the network. She said: "In many stations there are no visible members of staff on hand to help people after 9pm. If there were, they would act as a deterrent to muggers and make commuters feel safer.

"On the day of my attack the CCTV cameras were not working properly.

Cameras which do not work or are badly placed and produce grainy images are not going to help police catch perpetrators."

She added: "My father was mugged and I have harassed London Underground, trying to make them aware they could save lives if they had the proper measures in place.

"London is not a safe place to live and Tube bosses need to take some action to protect people who use the service, especially late at night."

Ms McCartney has not returned to Westbourne Park station since the attack in October and she still suffers nightmares as a result of it. "I try not to go anywhere alone at night," she said.

London Underground said all bar one of the stations it operates are staffed day and night, with at least one member of staff at smaller stations and up to 25 staff at bigger stations. It said the Tube network had 6,000 CCTV cameras, with the number set to double by 2011 but admitted there was a fault with the cameras at Westbourne Park station on the night Ms McCartney was mugged.

'I FEEL AFRAID WHEN THE STATION IS DESOLATE' - YOUR EMAILS I TRAVEL from Charing Cross to Falconwood on the Bexleyheath line. Everything is closed by 8pm. I feel afraid when the station is desolate. Surely the train company can afford to employ more staff? I have tried applying. There must be others like myself wanting to do this job to make us all feel safe.

Megan I CAN'T believe anyone feels safe when leaving the train at North Dulwich station. There are cameras but no staff, even in the afternoons.

Friends of mine use West Dulwich, where the situation is the same.

Alison Pimlott KENSAL GREEN station is often unattended (sometimes from 5pm) and staff are constantly abused by (always the same) individuals, known to the police. …

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