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Family marks 20 years since the death of Sabina Rizvi still awaiting an inquest

The family of Sabina Rizvi are marking 20 years since the loss of her life.  Sabina lost her life some minutes away from Bexleyheath police station, South-East London, in the early hours of 20 March 2003.

Posted on 21 March 2023

Despite the passing of two decades, Sabina’s inquest has still not concluded (picture below).
Since the night Sabina lost her life, Sabina’s family attend the area where she died every year on the anniversary between 2am and 3am for a private candlelight and spiritual vigil with prayers in remembrance of Sabina.

To date Sabina’s family still do not have a full death certificate and are waiting for answers relating to the circumstances that surrounded Sabina, 25, being shot minutes after leaving Bexleyheath Police station. She had attended the station to clarify a situation relating to a car. Paul Asbury, who was seen on CCTV driving around Bexleyheath Police station, followed Sabina. Ashbury was convicted for Sabina’s murder in November 2004, but several others who were involved have not been identified and remain free.
Ashbury was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years before he could apply for parole. He has now submitted his parole application. He has, so far, refused to assist or participate in Sabina’s Article 2 Inquest.

Mrs Rizvi has applied to the Parole Board for an open parole hearing. She has requested to be able to attend and has asked the board to consider her reasons for why she believes that Paul Ashbury’s parole application should be denied.
In the years since Sabina’s death the Rizvi family, from Merton, have fought tirelessly for an inquest to be resumed into Sabina’s murder to examine the role of the police in the circumstances surrounding her murder.
The inquest was finally reopened in February 2019 with the coroner ruling that Article 2 the right to life is engaged.
Since then, there have been four pre-inquest review (PIR) hearings, in January 2020, January 2022, April 2022 and January 2023, but to date, no date has been set for the final inquest hearing.
A further PIR is due to take place during April or May 2023 at the Old Bailey, Criminal Court. The family hope that the coroner will be in a position to make real progress at the next hearing.
As well as campaigning for Sabina’s inquest Mrs Rizvi has also campaigned against gun and knife crime with Mothers Against Guns. She also set up the charity, Sabina's Trust against Revolvers and Racism (Starr), to empower young people against carrying a gun/knife and the consequences of being involved in street gang culture extending to the impact of racism.
In 2004 Mothers Against Guns successfully lobbied the government to make it an offence to sell and carry a replica gun in public, and  secured a mandatory sentence of five years for illegal possession of firearm.
Mrs Rizvi said:
“I cannot believe it has been 20 years since we lost Sabina to murder, as the deep-rooted rollercoaster pain is still with our family every day. The fight for the answers surrounding the circumstances of Sabina’s murder through a full and fearless inquest has been agonising and we still haven’t managed to get there.
“In the meantime, the man convicted for Sabina’s murder, Paul Ashbury, may be allowed to walk free out of prison into the open community, before we have received Sabina’s full death certificate. He has refused to assist with the inquest or give the names of others involved, showing no remorse. How can that be right?
“Sabina has not had a proper funeral, as only an initial interim death certificate was issued. We have been waiting for a full death certificate for Sabina, to enable me her mother to have a proper funeral.”

Anna Moore, solicitor from Leigh Day who has represented the family in relation to the inquest for over 12 years, said:
“We hope that in the 20th year since Sabina’s death some significant progress can be made in her inquest and that a date for the full hearing can be set.”

Anna Moore
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Anna Moore

Anna Moore is a partner in the human rights department.

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