Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in a selfie taken from Bibaa’s phone in Fryent Country Park on the evening they were murdered by Danyal Hussein. Police investigating the double murder voiced their frustration at being unable to access 80 per cent of the data on Hussein’s iPad
Apple and Google are in the firing line today as the mother of two sisters stabbed to death by a Satanist – and the detective leading the murder investigation – revealed their ‘frustration’ at being blocked from unlocking the killer’s online world.
Mina Smallman, whose daughters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were stabbed to death in Fryent Country Park in north London last June, spoke out following the conviction of their killer Danyal Hussein to accuse the tech giants of not doing enough to help police investigating ‘dangerous’ suspects.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said Hussein refused to hand over passwords for his Apple iPad – leaving 80 per cent of his data hidden – and his mobile phone was dumped and never found.
The lead detective on the case said the current system, which critics say allows tech giants hide behind the US courts, was like working with ‘one hand tied behind your back.’
His frustration was backed by Labour MP Alan Whitehead, who represents the Southampton constituency where murdered Lucy McHugh lived.
Facebook refused to hand over her or her killer’s passwords to police, claiming it only had to under a legal request valid under US law.
Mr Whitehead said there needed to be a ‘clear framework’ for when tech firms need to cooperate.
He said he had been ‘pretty dismayed’ by the difficulties in the McHugh case.
‘Whilst I appreciate the position that some of those companies find themselves in regarding what they think is the confidentiality of what is transmitted on their lines, there should be a public interest test which should enable disclosure and a reasonable duty to cooperate,’ Dr Whitehead said.
‘Obviously police ringing up a tech giant and saying ”give us all you know about X” as a fishing expedition is clearly not appropriate. But there are clear circumstances where that is necessary for the proper prosecution of justice.’
Hussein was obsessed with Satanism, neo-Nazi ideology, rape and murder and used the dark web to make his fantasy of killing women a dreadful reality on June 6 last year.
But a US court declined a request from the Crown Prosecution Service to secure his passcodes from Apple, who have no legal requirement to provide British police forces with access to private accounts.
Mrs Smallman said: ‘The really important thing with Apple and Google – we need to get access to people who are dangerous.
‘Once they have proven that they are not working within the right systems, they’re not in a good place, we need to be able to gain access to that information.’
In 1994 Britain and the Unites States signed the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLA) to help police on both sides of the Atlantic gather evidence easily – including help taking testimony, tracing offenders and freezing assets.
But the violent deaths of Bibaa and Nicole has highlighted continuing problems with the deal when it comes to getting access to data and passwords from tech companies including Apple and Google, their mother Mina said.
The request by the Crown Prosecution Service was turned down by an American judge who said there was no ‘probable cause’ for handing over any passwords or passcodes to Hussein’s device – ruling police and prosecutors had not offered evidence that showed there was anything on the iPad of his iCloud was directly linking him to the murders.
Yet Hussein’s handwritten notes suggested that he was looking at sites on the dark web, Scotland Yard said, and that police wanted to know if there was evidence of links to extremist groups or other crimes on his iPad.
From what officers were able to recover, there was evidence Hussein was talking to others about demons and spells, as well as researching extreme far right material, DCI Harding said. But other potentially revealing information about his activities on the dark web remains unknown.
Apple claims it was unaware of any request for access – but its data privacy rules show will only consider emergency requests from police to access customer accounts or devices if detectives can prove ‘imminent and serious threats to the life/safety of individuals’.
In the case of Hussein he was already arrested so this exemption would not apply, forcing them to take the MLA route that can take up to two years and is often rejected.
Murderer Danyal Hussein holds his hands up in the air as police arrest him at his home following the discovery of the sisters in June last year
Mina Smallman speaking outside the Old Bailey in London after Danyal Hussein was found guilty of killing sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry. She told the BBC: ‘The really important thing with Apple and Google, we need to get access to people who are on a list of ‘they are dangerous’.
How tech giants leave most data sharing decisions to the US courts as police grapple with a 1994 transatlantic treaty that has thwarted previous UK murder inquiries
The row over data sharing between the police and tech giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook has been rumbling on on both sides of the Atlantic for years.
US-based companies have no legal requirement to provide British police forces with access to private accounts.
In general, Facebook only provides officers with swift access in cases ‘involving imminent harm to a child, or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person’.
For most other requests – even those relating to terrorism, murder and rape – detectives must go through the US legal system by making an application via the 1994 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which can take months.
British police and the Crown Prosecution Service must send a formal written request for help.
They must also apply to the US Justice Department, which places the request in a queue before any court order is granted compelling a tech form, to disclose a user’s personal information – including their password.
Facebook, which also owns the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp, was condemned last year for refusing to give MI5 access to text messages after a string of deadly terror attacks in Britain.
It is not the only tech company to face such criticism. Apple was slammed for refusing to help the FBI access data on the phone of a terrorist who shot 14 dead in San Bernardino, California, in 2015.
In 2018 the mother of murdered Southampton schoolgirl Lucy McHugh (pictured) condemned Facebook over its failure to hand over the prime suspect’s password.
Stacey White accused the social media giant of denying her justice after police were forced to apply to American judges for a court order demanding that it hand over the information.
Detectives investigating 13-year-old Lucy’s murder are desperate to access Facebook accounts belonging to tattoo artist Stephen Nicholson. But Facebook then refused to hand it over – despite the man being a murder suspect.
DCI Harding revealed his officers were unable to access data stored on Hussein’s iCloud storage because he refused to co-operate and the defendant’s parents did not engage with the inquiry. As a result they and could not access 80 per cent of the data on Hussein’s iPad – forcing them to make a MLA request, which was rejected by a US court.
Instead when Scotland Yard confirmed it was only able to access only 20% of data held on Hussein’s iPad, a request was made to a court, believed to be in New York, using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty – but it failed.
An Apple spokesman said the company was unaware of a request, but the mother of Hussein’s two victims says that tech giants must make it easier for police and prosecutors to get access.
The Metropolitan Police officer said: ‘He was in communication with others and they talk about different demons and different spells.
‘We believe there was a lot more he was accessing on the dark web.
‘We have had discussions with counter terrorism officers to get more of an understanding around thoughts and ideology.’
But he said the murders were not regarded as terror-related and there was no evidence anyone else was involved.
‘We have not seen any evidence of any encouragement but we have not been able to get into his deepest darkest thoughts hidden in his computer somewhere.’
Mr Harding added: ‘In my experience of murder investigations, we always seem to come to the same problem getting into certain devices and asking to get into them.
‘I personally find it strange they do not help in certain situations to understand if there are other people with a similar mindset he is talking to.
‘I think it’s incredibly frustrating when you are trying to run a murder inquiry with one hand tied behind your back.’
Apple and Facebook have been involved in rows with police dating back almost a decade.
In 2014 South African police investigating the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius were sent a detective to Apple’s headquarters in the U.S. to unlock the paralympian’s iPhone.
Pistorious insisted he had forgotten the password to his iPhone and detectives could get texts from his network but not the data on his handset. It never emerged if it was successful.
In 2016 Google piled in to support for Apple after the tech firm’s refusal to allow the FBI access to the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote on Twitter: ‘Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users’ privacy.
‘We know that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face significant challenges in protecting the public against crime and terrorism. We build secure products to keep your information safe and we give law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders’.
In the end the FBI used a secretive Australian hacking firm months after the 2015 attack to gain access to the iPhone owned by an Islamist terrorist who killed 14.
Syed Farook’s iPhone 5C was opened up by Sydney-based firm Azimuth Securities in 2016 after Apple ignored court orders from the FBI to do so.
Hussein used his own blood to sign an agreement with a ‘demon’ named Lucifuge Rofocale promising to ‘sacrifice’ women
Inked in blood: The signature of the murderer penned in his own bodily fluids on the ‘deal’ to the devil for a lottery win
How Satanist sixth former was referred to Prevent aged 15 over far-right propaganda he viewed on school computers – but was discharged less than a year later after he was deemed no risk
Hussein had attended Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke, South London where he was reported to the government’s Prevent de-radicalisation programme in October 2017, at the age of 15.
The school raised concerns that Hussein ‘may have been displaying vulnerability to radicalisation’ and, after a further assessment, he was referred to the Channel programme, which is part of Prevent.
Seven months later, in May 2018 he was discharged from the Channel process with ‘no outstanding concerns at that time with respect to violent extremism or terrorism,’ according to a Home Office statement.
After leaving the Channel programme, Hussein continued to receive ‘relevant support’ from his school, health and social services, and ‘no further concerns were raised over his behaviour in respect of Prevent.’
In addition, the Prevent officers also carried out reviews at six and 12 months after he was discharged from the Channel process, and ‘nothing of concern was identified to prompt any further intervention from Channel or Prevent,’ the statement said.
Detectives now question whether Hussein may already have been set on a path to rightwing extremism and Satanism.
Sam Armstrong, of the Henry Jackson Society think tank, told MailOnline: ‘Time and time again individuals who commit the most heinous acts of violence and terrorism are found to have been on the radar of counter-extremism officials.
‘The government must now urgently investigate whether the protocols for being dismissed as not posing a danger are sufficiently robust to deal with the threat that we face.
‘Future lives depend on getting this right.’
A twisted deal with the Devil to win the lottery if he killed six women: RICHARD PENDLEBURY and GEORGE ODLING take you inside the mind of a teenage monster driven by his own greed and lust
The other guests had gone home. It was after midnight, but sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman continued celebrating Bibaa’s birthday in the dark of a north-west London park.
Midsummer was approaching and, during that warm week last summer, the first Covid lockdown had begun to ease.
The sisters – daughters of the Venerable Mina Smallman, Britain’s first black female Anglican archdeacon – had lit fairy lights and were dancing to music together, reluctant to go home.
Few who have lived through the pandemic would blame them. Using a remote control camera, they shot 150 photographs capturing their euphoria. Then the unthinkable happened.
In what police have described as the last ‘haunting’ image, taken by the camera at 1.13am on Saturday June 6, both women can be seen looking to their left ‘as if distracted’.
Investigating officers believe this is the moment they became aware of the approach of Danyal Hussein, who was then 18.
For Bibaa and Nicole it had been a night of joy, celebration, freedom and sisterhood.
Hussein, 19, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of the murders of Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27. Pictured: Danyal Hussein being arrested
Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman. The sisters – daughters of the Venerable Mina Smallman, Britain’s first black female Anglican archdeacon – had lit fairy lights and were dancing to music together, reluctant to go home
But to Hussein it was the evening he would begin to fulfil his ‘contract’ with a demon – signed in his own blood – in which he promised to kill six women in six months in return for winning the £321million Mega Millions Super Jackpot lottery and not being suspected of his crimes. This is a true-life horror story, a sick fantasy, fed by the so-called dark web, made dreadful reality.
Hussein was an awkward teenager, diagnosed as on the autistic spectrum but with no sign of a mental illness that could present a danger to others.
But he had become obsessed with Satanism, neo-Nazi ideology, rape and murder.
In the early hours of that morning he stabbed Bibaa eight times, and her sister 28 times, with a 12-inch knife. He hid their bodies in undergrowth where they would not be found for 36 hours. Police believe if they had not caught him he would have killed again.
‘No one expects their children to die before them, but to have two out of three of your children murdered on the same night is just incomprehensible,’ said the victims’ mother in her victim impact statement.
She has a surviving middle daughter, Monique.
The tragedy for the sisters’ family was to be compounded by official errors, police incompetence and corporate privacy issues.
Mina Smallman, the mother of Nicole Smallman speaking outside the Old Bailey in London after Danyal Hussein was found guilty of killing sisters Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry
This included an earlier, failed, opportunity to identify and attempt to change Hussein’s mindset when he was suspected of far-Right sympathies, aged 15, and the dilatory police response to reports of the sisters’ disappearance.
A US court’s refusal to grant detectives access to Hussein’s Apple iPad also led senior investigator Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding to complain that police were trying to investigate the murders ‘with our hands tied behind our backs’. Bibaa, who was celebrating her 46th birthday, had been a senior social worker with Buckinghamshire Council since 2017.
‘Bibaa was always working with people, trying to get the best out of them, motivate them,’ her mother said.
‘Before she became a social worker, one of her jobs was driving a mini van of disabled children to their swimming lessons. She loved the job, she knew all the children and they loved her.’
Danyal Hussein, 19, who killed sisters Bibaa Henry, 46, and Nicole Smallman, 27, seen here in his police mugshot
Bibaa had her own grown-up daughter, Monet, who was pregnant at the time and had been the centre of attention at the party in Fryent Country Park, Brent, north-west London.
Nicole, 27, Bibaa’s half-sister, was her teacher father Chris’s only child and granddaughter of Professor Basil Smallman, a composer and former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Liverpool University.
She worked as a freelance photographer and photographer’s assistant and recently started a job at an events company. ‘She loved people,’ said her mother with whom she sang in a worship group, in the impact statement.
Nicole and Bibaa often went to music festivals together. The pair were close and lived not far apart in Wembley.
They were seen in the Co-op in nearby Kingsbury at around 7:30pm on Friday evening, buying provisions for the party. They were in good spirits and Nicole could be seen dancing and chatting to another customer. Further CCTV showed them entering the park at around 7:40pm.
After setting up at the top of a hill from which they could watch the sunset they spent the next few hours with a small group of friends; eating, drinking, dancing and playing cards – a ‘mini festival’ their mother called it. By midnight, all the guests had left but the sisters decided to stay.
Danyal Hussein, whose family home was in Blackheath on the other side of London, was staying at his grandmother’s home, close to the park. He had bought a set of knives at an Asda store.
The evening before the attack he collected a balaclava and two shovels from an Amazon locker on Edgware Road in central London. He was next caught on CCTV entering the park at around 8.40pm. Police think he spent some time observing the sisters.
It is believed Bibaa was attacked first, then Nicole, who attempted to fight him off. He dragged their bodies to a hedgerow where he hid them, then threw their mobile phones into a pond. He only left the park at 4.07am, having removed his bloodstained trousers. But his ‘pact’ with the devil had already failed. In the course of the attacks he sustained a knife cut to his right hand.
The sisters (above), who had been celebrating Ms Henry’s birthday with friends, were found by Ms Smallman’s boyfriend
The following day he sought hospital treatment, saying he’d been injured in a mugging. The DNA evidence provided by this wound would prove crucial. His victims were not reported missing to the police until 9pm on Saturday: 17 hours later, at lunchtime on Sunday, their bodies were found. Not by the police, who had failed to respond, but by Nicole’s boyfriend, Adam Stone.
He had gone to the park with his father, where they found two pairs of spectacles belonging to the sisters, as well as a knife in the grass.
Mr Stone broke down in court as he described the moment he discovered their bodies, entwined in the hedge, while he was on the phone to the police.
The slowness of the police response is now the subject of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
A bloodstained blanket and cushions was found in a council tip. The blood on these items and on the knife found by Stone provided a familial DNA match with Hussein’s father, who had once been arrested and cautioned for an undisclosed offence.
When Hussein was arrested at Taser-point at his mother’s home in Eltham on July 1, it was apparent to officers the killer had an injury to his hand. Detectives then found a note, handwritten on green paper, hidden inside a TV unit in his bedroom
A knife similar to the one bought by Danyal Hussein in Asda in Colindale he used to murder the two innocent sisters
It began: ‘For the Mighty King Lucifuge Rofocale’ (a legendary demon who runs Hell’s government and treasury) and promised to ‘perform a minimum of six sacrifices every six months for as long as I am free and physically capable… Sacrifice only women, build a temple for you, do everything that I have promised.’
Underneath, again underlined, were the words ‘For me’ and then ‘Win the Mega Millions super jackpot.’ Hussein wrote that he wanted ‘to receive fruitful rewards for the future sacrifices I make to you, the rewards could consist of wealth and power, to never be suspected of any crimes by the police and also that the police will never know of any crimes that I have done and I will do.’
It was signed ‘Danyal’ in his own blood, followed by ‘King Lucifuge Rofocale’, with a space left for the demon’s signature.
Next to the note were three lottery tickets.
There was another note setting out a ‘spell’ in which he asked for a named girl in his class at school to ‘fall deeply in love with me.’
Other spells found in a folder asked for him to be made sexually attractive to women and increase his virility.
Hussein refused to give police his computer password. But they were able to recover material which suggested he had been surfing the dark web and talking to ‘likeminded people’ about satanic spells.
In the three weeks between the murders and his arrest, Hussein spent £144.88 on 31 different lottery tickets and online bets on foreign lotteries. He played his first Lotto Millions game less than 24 hours after the killings.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC told the court: ‘It would appear that the defendant had confidence that his plan would work since, following the fatal attacks upon Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, the defendant purchased several lottery tickets and there were three lottery tickets folded up inside the note [found in his room].
‘As it turned out, the demon did not come good on the bargain, since not only did the defendant not win the lottery but the police identified all the evidence that links him to these two murders.’ The killer’s behaviour in court, where he declined to give evidence, has been described as ‘despicable.’
He tried to catch the attention of his victims’ family, made ‘loser’ signs to a paramedic witness, and turned his back on the judge. In her victim impact statement, Mina Smallman said of Hussein and his actions: ‘I understand poor upbringing, greed.
‘I taught boys at secondary school and out of thousands of boys I have taught, I have never come across such evil.
‘If any good comes out of this, had he not been found, he had another four women lined up to murder to meet his pact with his so-called demon.’
She added: ‘There is no medication that can stop this pain. I have lost my firstborn and my baby.’ Mr Harding said: ‘This has been a shocking case that will stay with all of us for many years to come, not least the awful way in which these two vibrant women met their deaths as they celebrated Bibaa’s birthday, but also Hussein’s bizarre deluded fantasies that he should sacrifice the women in exchange for a lottery win. I strongly believe that he would have gone on to kill more women if he hadn’t injured his hand in such a way that he did when he killed Bibaa and Nicole.
‘It’s very difficult for my team still to this day to comprehend that this 18-year-old boy, as he was at the time, could have carried out such savage attacks.’
Additional reporting Duncan Gardham