The mother of two sisters murdered in a London park last year has expressed her fear that the teenager who murdered them will become “even more radicalised” in prison and risks becoming a “killing machine”.
The Ven Mina Smallman, the first black woman to become an archdeacon in the Church of England, said she had already forgiven 19-year-old Danyal Hussein, who on Wednesday was found guilty of murdering Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46.
Hussein, 19, had been through a government “deradicalisation” programme and was said to have drawn up a “contract” in his own blood with a demon to sacrifice women in return for winning the lottery.
Asked if the authorities had failed, by releasing Hussein after a year, Smallman said there were “gaps in the system”.
“The saddest thing, if this young man does have this tendency when he goes into prison, he is going to be even more radicalised,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “He is a killer now, he’ll be a killing machine by the time he comes out.”
She said it was “really important” to be able to have access to the devices of dangerous radicalised individuals. “We can’t protect those who are a danger because we fear that all of our rights will be taken away,” she said.
While the killings were not treated as a terrorist attack, Hussein underwent “a form of radicalisation” in terms of exposure to occult material on the dark web, and evidence suggested he would have gone on to kill more women.
Smallman, who sat through Hussein’s trial, will be back in court next week for the trial of two police officers who have been charged with misconduct in public office over photographs taken at the scene where the two sisters’ remains lay. She said she felt no sense of relief or joy, adding that while “justice has been done” there was still work to do.
She told the BBC she would consider taking legal action against the Metropolitan police if she was dissatisfied with the outcome of an ongoing Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) report.
“I don’t have an agenda to topple anything,” she said. “What I want to do is make things better so that the things that have happened to us never happened to anybody else.”
Smallman described the trauma of hearing the evidence against Hussein, and said the killer had taunted her in court.
“He would align himself so that he could see us and he looked at me straight in my eyes and then he smiled, he did this sinister little smile,” she said. “So I smiled back, and I winked at him and he went doolally. Because I gave him that and I wouldn’t give him the privilege of letting him feel that he had destroyed me.”
Smallman said when she refused to give Hussein any further attention he started clicking his fingers and tried to get her to look at him again she refused to look at him. But she had forgiven him, she said.
“When we hold hatred for someone it’s not only them who are held captive, it’s you, because your thoughts become consumed by revenge,” she said. “I refuse to give him that power. He is a nonentity to me.”
The trial was shown documents taken from Hussein’s home, including a handwritten “contract” with “the mighty King Lucifuge Rofocale” in which the signatory pledged to kill six women every six months in exchange for winning the Mega Millions Super Jackpot lottery.
Smallman said: “The thing that we have done, because remember the pact said he was going to kill another four women, our precious daughters died, but for other families their children have not been taken. And that’s a gift. He has no power in our lives.”
Asked what her daughters would have thought about what she and her husband had gone through this year, and their efforts to effect change, she said: “I imagine them, looking down and saying, Go for it mum. Go for it. You’ve got this, go for it.”
This article was amended on 16 July 2021 to include the Ven Mina Smallman’s honorific title as an archdeacon emeritus.