Coronavirus lockdown brings anguish for Tashan Daniel's family

By Thomas Mackintosh
BBC News, London

  • Published
Tashan Daniel and Leon Haque
Image caption,
Tashan Daniel (right) pictured with his friend Leon Haque on holiday

The family of a 20-year-old man who was fatally stabbed while on his way to watch Arsenal have described lockdown measures being "extremely hard".

Tashan Daniel was killed at Hillingdon Tube station in September and two men were due to stand trial at the Old Bailey for murder on 1 April.

The Covid-19 outbreak has meant most jury trials have been postponed.

Parents Celia and Chandy Daniel said they found the lockdown a trigger for loneliness without their son.

Tashan, an aspiring Olympian, had just celebrated his 20th birthday and had bought himself a ticket to watch Arsenal play Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.

'Permanent loss'

Mr Daniel, 48, said his son was "always the instigator of enjoying each other's company" and his presence was extremely missed.

"Certainly, without him there is a new dynamic in lockdown," Mr Daniel said.

"In the past there were four of us and now there are three of us.

"The sense of loss is greater now because Tashan is missing and we will never see him again.

"Although people are missing their families and friends right now - our loss is permanent and lockdown just highlights it more."

Media caption,

Tashan Daniel's family saw him die after Tube stabbing

Mrs Daniel, a self-employed hairdresser, said she had added worries because social distancing measures had meant she was not able to work or have her normal routine of exercising.

"I have found it extremely hard," the 49-year-old said. "After what happened in September I was finding myself in a routine focusing on my work, speaking to people and going to the gym.

"Sitting at home just brings back flashbacks and I get anxious.

"Work was my distraction and my focus was looking ahead to the trial - but now we don't know when that will be."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Chandy Daniel (second from right), Celia Daniel (centre) and Oceanna Daniel (second from left) have been supported by friends and family during lockdown
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil near Hillingdon Tube station to pay their respects to Tashan Daniel after he was killed

Earlier this year Alexander Lanning, 21, of Uxbridge, and Jonathan Camille, 19, of Kensington, both pleaded not guilty to Tashan's murder.

The pair were due to go on trial at the Old Bailey at the start of April but current social distancing guidelines in the UK have made it difficult for jury trials to go ahead because they would require at least 20 people, including 12 jurors, to be in one place and safely distanced from one another.

Should more than three jurors fall ill during a trial, then it has to be abandoned.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman added: "All new jury trials were suspended by the Lord Chief Justice to help protect the public.

"We know that delays can cause distress for victims, and our thoughts are with Tashan's family.

"We are working closely with the judiciary and others to ensure that jury trials can begin again as soon as possible."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The family are campaigning to have Hillingdon Athletics Stadium re-named after Tashan Daniel

Mr Daniel also explained birthdays had been difficult since Tashan's death and said the family related to many people grieving at the loss of a loved one due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Tashan's sister Oceanna turned 15 just before lockdown and it's been really hard for her too," he said. "She thrives in school being around her friends.

"He would often have his time with her, his time with me and his time with his mum around the house.

"So with it being the three of us, it really is that much more lonely."

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