In 2009 Ian Newtion was murdered in a pedestrian subway underneath Greenford Flyover. A reggae singer, he had performed at a party the previous evening and was on his way home. That year the 22nd of March fell on a Sunday, Mother’s Day. His family cannot understand why a much loved family member died alone in such an unloved place. At the time two things occurred to me: that he had been surrounded by thousands of people but had still been vulnerable and that, as a community, we cared so little about the safety of visitors to our area that we had allowed the space under the flyover to become a “no go” area. I began to recognise the impact that planning decisions can have on the lives of ordinary people.
Three years later the subways are monitored by cameras, the steps that were damaged and unsafe have been repaired and graffiti is kept in check, but some people still run across the slip roads rather than walking through the subways. A crime of this severity is a rare event in Greenford but it remains unsolved. In spite of this the Newtion family have conducted themselves with grace and dignity. The words of a police officer involved with the case have stayed with me: “We are in awe of this family.”
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