Nigerian-born Helen Lawal, the 23-year-old Miss Black Britain and, most recently, the freshly crowned Miss York, is the target of a self-confessed racist who thinks she should not be part of the more important Miss Britain competition. A threatening phone call was placed with event organizer Vivienne Lee, and the police are already looking into the case, BBC informs.
Although Lawal has not been directly threatened by the racist, who calls himself Mr. Paver, the phone call in itself was threatening enough to alert the authorities, it has been said. Among the many comments made, “we know where you are” and “these people should not be allowed in the country” were two of the most worrying, Mrs. Lee points out. Because of this, she has alerted the police and they are now investigating the case.
“A gentleman called me to say there shouldn’t be a black person representing York and he said he would ‘get all of us.’” Mrs. Lee tells BBC, adding that she was “shocked and surprised” about the phone call in the aftermath of Lawal winning the Miss York title. “Since living in Pickering she has not encountered any racism. The Miss England competition has always been multicultural to reflect the country we live in.” Mrs. Lee adds for the aforementioned media outlet.
The police have confirmed the threats received regarding Lawal. “We can confirm that a malicious call involving racist statements was reported to us on Friday 17 April. We take the issue of hate crimes very seriously and will investigate.” a statement released to BBC says. However, as of now, it is not known whether the police have any leads in the case or not.
Helen Lawal was born in Nigeria, but traveled to the UK when she was very small and grew up there. She has a British passport, which is why she has had the right to enlist for the Miss Britain competition, hailed as a multicultural event that knows no such racial boundaries. Lawal is now studying to follow in her father’s footsteps, being in her fourth year at the University of York-based Hull York Medical School.
Miss England 2009 will be held in London, on July 20.