"You don't just leave him"

By Rob Last edited 154 months ago
"You don't just leave him"

Like most Londoners we were shocked and upset by the news last week that 28-year-old Richard Whelan had been stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack on the top deck of the number 43 bus as it travelled along the Holloway Road.

Today's Guardian carries a truly astonishing piece of writing by a female passenger who was travelling on the lower deck of the bus and attempted to help Mr Whelan as he lay wounded following the attack.

Unfortunately this piece of writing highlights one astonishing fact: she was the only person who came to his aid.

What do you do in that situation? I definitely hesitated - I was thinking: there's no way I'll be the first person to do something here, there are so many other people about. And then, suddenly, I had a very quick realisation that no one else was going to do anything. I put my bag down and went to get my phone. Then I went to the man and said, "Sit down," because he was sort of wheeling about, taking his shirt off and saying, "Look, look."


At one point this other guy came over. I'm not sure, but I think he got on the bus to have a look. He was leaning over, looking, and he was wearing a jacket, a proper jacket. So I said: "Can you give me your jacket so I can put it over him?" He just said "No". That was it.

It's an extremely difficult article to read, especially when you think that in the past few weeks London has been perceived as 'pulling together'; as presenting a unified front against random violence.

And of course you can't read this article without thinking "Well, what would I do?"

If you have any information about the murder of Richard Whelan please call the Metropolitan police incident room on 020-8345 3985 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Last Updated 04 August 2005

john k

I've found this whole incident shocking - not least of all because it happened right on my doorstep and could easily happen to anyone. He looked like such a nice guy.

But what i have found equally disturbing is the way the story has been brushed under the carpet by the media, despite the similarities to the (equally horrific) Anthony Walker case.

Is it a case of 'it's only London, you expect these things there'? or is there a racial issue involved?

There's a whole culture of people out there with no respect for human life and it goes almost unspoken and accepted....seemingly.


I was mugged by two guys on a motorbike last summer. They pushed me to the floor and snatched my phone. It was 6 o clock on a summer's evening between Holloway Road and Hornsey Rise, plenty of people walking home from bus stops, not one person stopped to ask if I was okay. What is it with people?

Jo Oakley

I was also mugged a while ago, actually on a 29 bus near the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Green Lanes.

Not one person helped or even appeared to care, as I was threatened with a knife, shoved over and my bag stolen. I can't make sense of it even now - when did people become so cold? Richard Whelan's death is so, so sad and I feel for his poor family.


Anthony Walker's death is no more or less tragic than Richard Whelan's. What's happening is just horrible. Instead of letting these events cause further racial division, blame the media for shoddy reportage. Editors choose which stories receive attention, and which don't.