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The mysterious death of a Black woman, Blessing Olusegun, resurfaces following Sarah Everard’s murder

'Black women are constantly failed by systemic racism.'

Mar 16, 2021, 11:37 am*

IRL

 

Kahron Spearman

The untimely death of Sarah Everard at the alleged hands of a London Metropolitan Police officer has unlocked remembrance of another unfortunate death. On Sept. 18, 2020, the body of Blessing Olusegun, 21, was found on a Bexhill beach near Galley Hill. 

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However, as many online are now pointing out, Olusegun’s death, and the unusual lack of information on the circumstances surrounding it, did not receive the same media attention as Everard’s currently is. Olusegun’s death, police say, is “unexplained.”

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“I hope people have noticed the difference in media coverage and police response in Sarah Everard case compared to Blessing Olusegun. Black women are constantly failed by systemic racism,” one Twitter user said.

“White privilege is so important to understand in these traumatic scenarios. If you’re white & hurting this week, just IMAGINE what non-white women are experiencing. White people & the media didn’t come out with this clout for Blessing Olusegun, we absolutely need to change that,” another urged.

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Before her death, Olusegun was working for one week “as a live-in carer for elderly dementia patients at a home run by Agincare in Bexhill,” according to the Evening Standard

Per Sussex Live, Sussex police said in a statement, “At 6.20 am on Friday, September 18, the body of a woman was found lying on the beach at Bexhill near Galley Hill. The body was identified that morning as that of Blessing Olusegun, 21, of Middle Park Avenue, London SE9, and her next of kin, her mother, was contacted and informed that afternoon by a visit from the Metropolitan Police at our request.”

It continued:

“Meanwhile, police in Sussex began an investigation of the circumstances, and the death was treated as unexplained though not suspicious at that stage. … A postmortem took place on September 24, and further forensic tests were carried out in order for the cause of death to be established. Police and the coroner’s officer have kept in touch with Blessing’s mother to ensure she was informed of any significant development. The further forensic tests confirmed that Blessing’s death resulted from drowning. There was no evidence of violence or of internal or external injury.”

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A close friend of Olusegun, Christiana Sofolabo, said, per SussexLive, that three CCTV images showed Olusegun “walking in the early hours of the day she died.” One showed her in the town center; a second showed her walking under a tunnel towards the beach. The final sighting was nearby a cafe.

On the day her body was found, Sept. 18, Sofolabo, listed as Olusegun’s next of kin, got a text from the care agency, saying she was missing. When she called her phone, a police officer answered, informing her that they had found her friend’s phone but did not inform her of death.

Sofolabo said her friend was a student “living her best life.” Even on that evening to early morning, she talked to Olusegun, who said she could not sleep. 

“She was saying to me she couldn’t sleep and that she wanted to go for a walk,” Sofolabo told SussexLive. “I offered to stay on the phone, but she said ‘nevermind.'”

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A dog walker would find Olusegun’s body early on Sept. 18. 

The idea that a body could be found “drowned” in the middle of a fall night has struck many social media commenters as highly suspicious and yearning for answers from police. The lack of information around her death, such as the investigation of the beach, has also left much to be desired.

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*First Published: Mar 14, 2021, 4:03 pm