"You don't just leave him"

By Rob Last edited 158 months ago
"You don't just leave him"
whelan.jpg

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