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Stabbing in West Hampstead sparks plea for more CCTV cameras

People 'feel nervous' using Billy Fury Way

28 November, 2016 — By Tom Foot

Veronica Beatty and Micky West, part of the cab office team

THE owner of a minicab firm is demanding CCTV is installed in West Hampstead after a young man came rushing into her office after being stabbed.

Veronica Beatty, who has run West End Lane Cars for 22 years, said she regularly shelters victims of late-night muggings and violence close to the entrance of Billy Fury Way.

A fortnight ago on a Saturday night a young medical student came into her cab office with “blood pouring out of him” after being robbed of his phone and stabbed in the thigh.

A young homeless man from Camden has app­eared in court charged with “violent robbery and assault”, Met Police said yesterday (Wednesday).

“The young boy came in running for safety,” said Ms Beatty, who grew up in West Hampstead. “And just the other day there was a young woman who run into ours for cover. She had been mugged at Luton airport. Then she got off at West Hampstead and got mugged again – for her phone.

“The council says CCTV is too expensive but I’m saying: ‘Come on, with everyone paying the rates they are paying in West Hampstead?’ They can put flowers up on the lampposts, they can put some CCTV up too.”

Ms Beatty, 47, said this year two women came into her cab office saying they had been sexually assaulted in Billy Fury Way.

The dimly-lit alleyway was for years a rarely trodden, five-minute walk by the rail track between West Hampstead and Finchley Road. Since it was officially named Billy Fury Way in 2011 – and adorned with a colourful mural of the singer’s face – more people have been taking the route.

In August, a man was charged with the knifepoint rape of a woman in Billy Fury Way, near the West Hampstead entrance.

In December last year, an Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation was launch­ed after a “well-dressed Asian man” was stopped and searched at Billy Fury Way by a police officer in uniform before “several” plain-clothes officers allegedly piled in.

No CCTV evidence was available to prove what happened, however.

Ms Beatty said: “Because they called it Billy Fury Way, people come to look at it – as if it’s the Beatles or something. But it isn’t. It’s dangerous.”

She added: “West Hampstead was such a safe area. It changed a couple of years ago.

“I feel nervous on West End Lane at 6am. People are still drinking at that time of the morning. Because of the three train stations, people are gathering there – it’s a high- crime area. There should be CCTV.”

Councillor Jonathan Simpson, cabinet member for community safety and the voluntary sector at Camden Council, said: “We have completed security assessments of locations in the area around Billy Fury Way and improved the lighting. We will consider requests for CCTV, prioritising our spending in our difficult financial situation.”

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