Police investigating the death of a student who was battered by a gang of girls in a street attack last month have said they still do not know how she died but that the assault on her was not racially motivated.
Mariam Moustafa, 18, of St Ann’s, London, died three weeks after being left in a coma following the brutal attack outside a shopping centre in Nottingham on February 20 at around 8pm.
The victim’s family originally said they believed the attack was a race hate crime after the Egyptian-born teenager was targeted by the same group of girls the previous month.
Yet Chief superintendent Rob Griffin said that all of the ‘evidence indicates that this incident is not in any way hate related’.
The last photo of Mariam Moustafa, (left) an engineering student, two weeks before she was left in a coma (right) after she was jumped by a group of female yobs. She died from her injuries on Wednesday
The engineering student’s sister Malak, 16, later claimed Mariam may have been confused with a similar-looking girl who had been taunting the gang online.
Police have confirmed that a group of six girls were involved in the attack. The victim was allegedly punched several times and dragged by the female yobs before the assault continued – which was filmed by onlookers – after she boarded a bus.
Mariam was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham then transferred to the City Hospital where she was treated until her death.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mr Griffin said the policy in Nottinghamshire is to record a hate crime if anybody believes that to be the case.
He said: ‘We had recorded a hate incident, however, the investigation has progressed really well… we have been able to establish what happened on February 20, and all the evidence indicates that this incident is not in any way hate-related.
Mariam (right) with her mother Nessrin Shehata, who claimed that her daughter had been assaulted by the same thugs four months before but police in Nottingham ‘did nothing’.
‘We now know that a group of six girls were involved in the incident and we believe that we have identified all six of those girls. One arrest has been made.’
A 17-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, but she has since been released on conditional bail.
Mr Griffin continued: ‘There have been many reports about an incident in August last year where Mariam and her sister had been assaulted.
‘It had been reported in the media that Mariam had broken her leg and we now know that this was not the case.
‘The level of investigation at that time was appropriate and unfortunately no suspects were identified at the time.’
He added: ‘In terms of whether or not the incident in August was connected to what happened in February – we are open-minded and these investigation continue and hopefully that picture will continue to become clearer.
The teenager (pictured) had been shopping in Nottingham city centre before she was assaulted
‘We are working really closely with Mariam’s family and providing support through specialist officers. I think it’s really important I stress at this point that this investigation is very much live.’
Mariam’s parents Nisreen, 41 and Mohamed, 49, claimed they had reported the original incident to police but said nothing was done.
And Mr Moustafa has called for ‘justice’ for his daughter, who was ‘very kind’ and ‘like an angel’.
The case has sparked a diplomatic row in Egypt and Boris Johnson has already stepped in to reassure the nation the matter is being investigated thoroughly.
Egyptian authorities and her family had expressed concern about the police investigation and the care she received.
The teenager had been shopping in Nottingham city centre before she was assaulted by the women
They claimed she would still be alive if arrests had been made after the previous attack and also said doctors sent her home after the fatal assault despite her being in agony.
Mr Griffin said he will be having conversations with both the Egyptian and Italian embassies throughout the course of the week.
The Nottingham-based student was born in Rome where her family had moved to from Egypt in 1991.
Nottinghamshire Police have said a decision on whether the incident would be investigated as a crime more serious than that of assault would be made following the outcome of a post-mortem examination, which took place on Friday.
The force has now revealed that the outcome of the post-mortem was inconclusive and that more tests will be carried out.
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