Murdered doc just oozed compassion'
PUBLISHED: 13:07 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:36 25 August 2010
A DAUGHTER of Africa, of Ghana, of whom Ghana was very proud This was the poignant tribute to the former Queen Mary s Sidcup doctor, Victoria Anyetei.
- Assistant Editor Michael Adkins reports EXCLUSIVELY from a very special memorial service
"A DAUGHTER of Africa, of Ghana, of whom Ghana was very proud"
This was the poignant tribute to the former Queen Mary's Sidcup doctor, Victoria Anyetei, 54, led by Reverend Tim Crome at her memorial service in Dartford.
For the first time since she was hacked to death and left to die on the driveway of her home, relatives of the children's doctor attended a service in her honour where she worshipped weekly.
The Kentish Times was given exclusive access to the moving ceremony attended by her family at Spital Street Methodist Church last Friday.
On August 14 last year - just a month after her birthday - she was savagely knifed as she left her home in Teynham Road, Dartford.
Her proud brothers' supported her heartbroken son Andrew Thompson, 20, at the intimate service. Andrew had been the one who discovered her body.
Leading the memorial Rev Crome said: "This is a chance for local friends, family, neighbours, some from the police team and some from the local press to offer a great sense of thanksgiving for someone who has offered and given us so much.
"I want to paint a picture of Victoria in our minds eye and give thanks. For it is only when you begin to glimpse at her life that you realise the sort of person Victoria was.From the moment that the news of her tragic and violent death broke the shock and horror swept around the area and not just the country, but Ghana and beyond.
"The question of why? And the confusion that we all lived through, and that many of us still live through since that day echoed around the globe.
"I don't think people who come from this country realise the significance of Victoria. She was a daughter of Africa, of Ghana, of whom Ghana was very proud."
About 50 people attended the intimate service, including her brother Jonathan, 61, and son Andrew, 20. Detective Chief Inspector Anne Brittain, who led the hunt for her killer with a team of 20 police officers, sat quietly at the back of the church with colleagues from Kent Police.
Her brother Gilbert Anyetei, 50, who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was unable to make the service. In a joint family tribute, he said: "You have played the role of a sister, a mother, a father, a friend and a lot more to us. You held the family together and you were like the sun around which we like the planets rotated and derived our energy.
"You have been a blessing to the family, though you are no longer with us physically. You will forever be in our hearts and minds." Throughout the service, largely based on a funeral service held at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster last November, the extent of her courage and humanity was revealed to the public for the first time as the congregation listened to her fascinating life story.
Dr Victoria was born at Labadi, a superb of Accra, Ghana to Madam Atswei Lomo and Mr Benjamin Walter Anyetei.
Her mother craved a daughter, having given birth to three sons and a daughter, Okailey, who died of severe burns after an accident in the kitchen. So when Victoria was born a tiny scar on her left cheek - a symbolic survival emblem - was made to warn of evil spirits.
Early education in Ghana was not easy. She attended the Methodist Infant School at Nkawkaw, in the eastern region, after following other children to school and telling the teacher she wanted to learn. And from there she progressed, gained distinctions in seven O'levels and pursued her dream of becoming a doctor.
She encountered adversity at every turn and having been awarded a scholarship to study Medicine in Prague, Czech Republic, her mother died in 1974.
Once again she returned home and took on the role of mother but returned Prague to continue studying to be accused of being a spy from the CIA. Her studies were put on hold once more when she was forced to return home while the two governments settled the dispute.
Finally she got a job at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana where she met her husband George Thompson and had her son. The marriage broke down when she finally came to England to study more and enhance her career.
During the service last Friday Rev Crome talked of the "vividness and terror of a violent death" but also of a woman who had deep roots in Ghana and "oozed Christian grace, generosity and compassion."
Throughout the service some of her favourite hymns were sung as many smiled with fond memories, others uttering a tear at her tragic death.
Her brother Jonathon Anyetei, 61, visibly moved by the service, said: "It was nice for the people of Dartford to have this opportunity.
"The family think of Victoria every day. It is still really hard but we are getting through it and we are very proud when we listen to her life story today. Victoria did a lot for me when I had hard times, she meant the world to the whole family.
"She was exceptional and when we lost her Ghana mourned, she came from a Royal family and brought so much to so many people."
More than 1,500 people attended her state funeral at her homeland in Accra, Ghana on December 13 last year. Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor even beamed a message to mourners at the service a sigh of her royal links.
Dr Victoria Anyetei worked as a locum paediatrician at St Thomas' Hospital, London for eight months before her murder.
During her time in England she also worked for Darent Valley Hospital, Lewisham University Hospital, Queen Mary's in Sidcup and Kings College Hospital amongst others.
- David Quartey, 21, of Humber Road, Dartford, is charged with her murder. He pleaded not guilty on Thursday, December 13, last year and is due to stand trial at Maidstone Crown Court on July 14.