It's been one year since the use of a car as a weapon in the racially-aggravated attack which saw North Bristol NHS staff member Katungua suffer horrific injuries.
Today (Thursday 22 July) marks this milestone in the recovery of Katungua - known as K or KDogg - and the racially-aggravated attempted murder investigation.
Despite an outpouring of support for Katungua and his family locally, nationally and internationally, four arrests by the investigative team and a £5,000 reward on offer from the charity Crimestoppers, no one has yet been charged with the crime.
To mark Katungua's physical recovery, he and his family were due to return to Southmead Hospital yesterday to meet and thank in person some of the staff who cared for him, but due to having to self-isolate the meeting took place with Maria Kane OBE, Chief Executive of North Bristol NHS Trust, and emergency department nurse Laura on Zoom instead. Laura was one of the first people to care for Katungua when he was brought into the hospital in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Both Katungua and his mother work at the NHS hospital, although Katungua is not yet fit to return. The family continue to be supported by SARI.
Katungua said: “My attackers broke my body, but not my heart or Bristol’s heart nor did they poison it. I want justice not revenge, I am bouncing back - that will be my victory. Watch me fly. Thank you NHS! Thank you Bristol! I am here because of you.”
His mother Hivaka said: “The attack on my son because he is a black man, exposes a sickness in our society. I’m one of the lucky mothers - my son came home alive. My heart goes out to all those family’s who’s loved ones didn’t.
“I am eternally grateful to those who saved my son’s life. If you know who attacked my son please call the police.”
Maria Kane, Chief Executive of North Bristol NHS Trust said: “K is one of us, he and his mother both work at North Bristol NHS Trust and they are very much part of our family, so when we heard about what happened it hit everyone extremely hard. One year on, his colleagues are reminded of the horrific attack on their friend and are disheartened that those responsible still haven’t been caught. We are absolutely committed to stamping out racism in all its forms, and any racism towards our staff will not be tolerated. I’d like to personally appeal to anyone with information about what happened to K to come forward immediately.”
Alex Raikes MBE, a director at SARI said: “SARI is privileged to be supporting KDogg and family who have shown so much dignity, strength and patience through an ordeal and trauma that is hard to imagine.
“The physical injury may have healed to some extent but the emotional toil has been huge with every one of the family deeply, psychologically scarred. Each has also seen their health worsen due to the stress of the situation.
“What is making things so much worse is that despite such a horrific racist attack in broad daylight that so nearly took KDogg’s life – his attackers are not brought to justice. They remain at large and given the brutality of this cold hearted assault - they could strike again and may well be harming others. Such racist attitudes are very dangerous if left unchecked.
“SARI will support the family for as long as it takes to for this case to be resolved. We are appealing to the public and to anyone who knows who did this to do the right thing and come forward.”
This complex investigation has remained a priority for Avon and Somerset Police throughout the past year. Detailed forensic work has been undertaken, hours of CCTV footage trawled, Crown Prosecution Service lawyers consulted and progress monitored by both the police chief officer group and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Detective Chief Inspector Mike Buck said: "We've heard today of the severity of the injuries Katungua suffered in this attack. His remarkable physical recovery is thanks to his own and his family's strength and the work of his NHS colleagues.
"We're determined to bring those responsible for this atrocious racist attack to justice. It’s been a year. If you saw who was driving that dark blue Honda Accord and haven't spoken to us, now is the time. If you are shielding those responsible - they don't deserve it. Think about yourself. Are people capable of this violence worth your support? Or should you be helping to protect people like Katungua and Hivaka, who have been working with their NHS colleagues to look after us all, throughout the COVID pandemic?
"If you have the proof we need to put someone in that driving seat, talk to us. Call 101 now or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
PCC Mark Shelford said: “I recently had the privilege of meeting with Katungua and his family, and I was overwhelmed by their incredible courage and resilience, which they have displayed for the last year.
“There is no place for racism, hate crime or discrimination of any kind within Avon and Somerset; hate destroys communities and perpetuates division when, in fact, what we need most is cohesion and inclusion. This awful attack does not reflect the true values of the Bristol community.
“I continue to urge anyone who has information about Katungua’s attack to come forward and support the police in identifying those responsible for this heinous crime and bring them to justice for Katungua, his family and the wider community.”
Timeline of the investigation:
Wednesday 22 July 2020 - The road was closed while officers examined the scene spoke to witnesses, carried out house-to-house enquiries and recovered the vehicle.
An initial media statement appealed for witnesses to the collision.
Officers took initial details from Katungua at hospital.
Thursday 23 July - Katungua was able to give his first detailed evidential account to detectives following his release from hospital, including the racist abuse from the offenders.
Friday 24 July - an appeal for witnesses and information was published on police channels and sent to all local media, confirming that this was being investigated as a deliberate, racially-aggravated attack.
Tuesday 28 July - local and national media covered the case. Katungua confirmed his injuries included a broken leg, nose and cheekbone and that he would need plastic surgery.
Saturday 1 to Tuesday 4 August - four men were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and released under investigation.
Monday 10 August - CCTV footage of the car was released in a further appeal.
Tuesday 18 August - Crimestoppers announced an enhanced reward of £5,000. The independent charity enables people to pass on information anonymously, with the prospect of a reward. This reward has been renewed and still stands. Only information passed directly to Crimestoppers using their untraceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or via freephone number 0800 555 111 will qualify. Information passed directly to Avon and Somerset Police will not qualify.
Friday 11 September - The national BBC Crimewatch Live programme featured the case
Wednesday 16 September - graphic images of the damage to the car used as a weapon formed part of a renewed appeal for information
Friday 22 January 2021 - The six-month anniversary of the attack was marked with a renewed appeal and the release of a new music track by KDogg - a talented musician and footballer.
• More than 38 witnesses spoken to
• Dozens more people contacted through house-to-house enquiries and following media appeals
• 32 statements taken
• More than 120 exhibits seized
• More than 50 staff involved including detectives, collision investigators, crime scene investigators and forensic scientists
If you have any information which could help to get answers for Katungua and his family and bring those responsible to justice, call 101 now, quoting reference 5220163308 and asking to speak to the Operation Bezel investigation team.