The family of a railway station worker who died with coronavirus days after being allegedly coughed and spat on by a passenger said the aggressor’s negative Covid-19 test was "almost as reliable as tossing a coin".
A pre-inquest review in the case of Belly Mujinga heard her family had questions over the authenticity of results of the antibody test carried out by the man, known only as AB, on March 25 2020.
The alleged spitting incident happened at London’s Victoria station four days earlier. Belly Mujinga, 47, died on April 5 2020.
She also went to a relative’s birthday party around the time she is believed to have been infected.
It is not yet confirmed how many people were at the party, or if any of them had Covid.
Elaine Banton, for Ms Mujinga’s family, told the hearing at Barnet Coroner’s Court on Monday afternoon: "It is my understanding that from all the accounts I’ve seen that the test was unreliable and almost as reliable as tossing a coin."
Geoff Thomas, for British Transport Police (BTP), said that was "not quite right", and added there was no evidence about false positive and false negative rates at the time, during the early days of the pandemic.
BTP interviewed a 57-year-old man over the incident but said there was not enough evidence to prove a crime had been committed.
Mr Thomas told the hearing the test was performed by AB himself over a video link with his GP.
Senior coroner Andrew Walker said the inquest was not likely to find out how the infection occurred, but it may be able to discover when Ms Mujinga was infected.
Her family have been granted time to decide whether to instruct an expert to examine the medical evidence. The hearing was adjourned until a further review next month.
Mrs Mujinga’s husband Lusamba Gode Katalay and daughter Ingrid were two of only 10 people allowed at her funeral due to coronavirus restrictions.
Her death prompted an outpouring of grief and demand for answers about what happened.