The mother of murdered daughters reached out to BBC presenter, Stacey Dooley, to tell the story of the aftermath of Bibaa and Nicole’s deaths in
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Cameras roll as she wipes away tears while describing the toll taken by the murders of her daughters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, in a satanic sacrifice by deluded Danyal Hussein, a botched Metropolitan Police missing-person’s enquiry and two officers sharing images of the sisters’ bodies on WhatsApp.
The emeritus archdeacon of Southend, known as Mina, reached out to BBC documentary reporter and presenter, Stacey Dooley, to tell the story of the aftermath of Bibaa and Nicole’s deaths.
Stacey spent 18 months filming with Mina and her husband, Chris, who is Nicole’s father. She takes audiences behind the headlines and we watch as Mina reels from Met failings and leans into a new role as an activist.
“I wanted my girls to be remembered for the lives they lived, not how they died. I found it [filming] surprisingly easy and I think that has a lot to do with the group of people who took on the project.
“We worked on it for 18 months. I’ve been very involved. I’m easy to work with but you need to be able to answer my questions. I told them I wouldn’t get involved in the editing.”
The hour-long programme captures quiet reflections at the couple’s home in Ramsgate, Kent, and explores Mina’s relationship with her faith – how she confronts and seeks comfort from it.
“This has been an eye-opening journey for me. This isn’t my world,” Mina, 65, says when we meet in a private dining room at a central London hotel after a screening of the film. Chris sits beside her and prefers to listen, occasionally contributing observations.
Why Mina Smallman made Two Daughters documentary: ‘This is what a mother’s grief looks like’
“I wanted to show up the people who let us down, the people who were paid to do a job. The disrespect of the selfies, the missing person’s report… people need to see the effect of what they [the police] did.”
Home videos, photos and testimonials provide vignettes of the sisters’ lives. Bibaa was a 5ft “pocket rocket”, forthright and determined. A mother to an adult daughter and soon-to-be a grandmother, Bibaa found her niche as a senior social worker in children’s services. “You couldn’t cover up anything on her watch,” Mina says.
Nicole, “the flower girl”, was a freelance photographer and an animal lover. Mina says her youngest child was “so gentle, so lovely. We always said she should’ve been born in the 60s, she was a real hippy”.
Indoor socialising was banned in England under Covid-19 rules at the time so Bibaa organised a picnic to mark her 46th birthday. She encouraged guests to bring food, drinks, lights and blankets.
“Bibaa wanted her friends to see the sunset on her birthday, and [see] how beautiful it is,” remembers her friend Paul.
As darkness fell, guests said their goodbyes and the sisters remained in the park – dancing with fairy lights and taking selfies. Shortly after 1am Hussein ambushed the women, stabbed them repeatedly and dragged their bodies out of view.
When Bibaa and Nicole failed to respond to messages later that day, worried friends and family reported them missing to the police.
However, a police call handler’s apathy over the sisters’ whereabouts – and perceived assumptions about their race and class – led the family to mount its own search. Forty hours after receiving her final message, Nicole’s boyfriend, Adam Stone, discovered the sisters’ entwined bodies in undergrowth.