Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter

Helen Anderson 

Helen Anderson - Credit: Paul Anderson 

The father of Finsbury Park murder victim Helen Anderson has shared his grief at his daughter's death. 

Paul Anderson described the shock that he and Helen's four children have experienced since Ms Anderson's body was found by a member of the public in undergrowth on a slip road near the A3 in Guildford on August 23.

So far nearly £3,000 has been raised to pay for Helen's funeral and to pay for care and mental health support for her children.

Helen's friend Rachel, who has organised the fund raising drive in which she hopes to raise £10,000, said: "Helen's life mattered. She was dearly loved by so many. Her family will need to find ways in which to carry on without her.

"If we can 'do' something for them, let it be to take one worry away and help them to pay for Helen's funeral and to support her children with some funding which may be needed for their care and for their mental health."

Speaking to the Gazette, her 70-year-old father, Paul, paid tribute to Helen, remembering how she was always "kind and generous with her time". 

He added: "All of her friends who I knew and their families say the same thing: 'Oh Helen, your beautiful child'. She was so nice and friendly, laughing, full of life and vitality."

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Mr Anderson admitted his daughter's life was troubled, and that she struggled with drug addiction. 

But four years ago Helen resolved to turn her life around and she had been taking positive steps like volunteering for the NHS Covid programme. 

He said: "It is a troubled life. You can't deny or gloss over that, but of course there were happy moments.

"About four years back Helen had hit her rock bottom. They say that people who are in recovery need to hit their bottom line and she had done and she gradually started to climb out. It was remarkable the difference in her appearance. She was definitely taking the right steps.

"Helen and I reconnected and we would meet up twice a week. When we sat together in the cafe all those times, we could laugh, and she could be honest and see her life what it was.

"When you've lost a child you think back to how you could have done things differently. It's human for anyone grieving, and I could say 'I wish I'd done that', but Helen had a loving family. We loved Helen."

Mr Anderson added: "I've managed frontline services in housing and community work so I've seen drug addiction and it's impact on families over many years, and its devastation. It tears families apart, and families give up on their kids, but we never gave up on Helen. 

"When she was recuperating and coming off street drugs on prescription, or the script as they call it, she was beginning to do volunteer work for the NHS, she was delivering food parcels and buying things for people who were house bound.

"This went on for well over a year, and it gave her a meaning and purpose. She enjoyed doing it and helping people. She was sociable, and it make her feel better.

"I'd just reconnected with Helen, and the Helen before there were problems is the Helen I choose to remember, but it's hard when your daughter has had such a troubled life.

"Of course you feel the pain of that, but I think when a family member has been addicted for so long, it's like the saying, 'death by a thousand cuts'. You aren't stabbed once, you are stabbed many times. So many times Helen had caused us pain by her actions, and we were almost used to it. It becomes the normal, so when finally her life is over, there's a bit of you that's even relieved that she is no longer suffering."

Mr Anderson would like to see the perpetrator responsible for her death put behind bars: "Of course we want justice for Helen, and for justice to be done, but it won't bring Helen back, but she's not coming back. We know that."

He added: "I hope we can raise some money for Helen's children, it would be very helpful to be able to have something for Helen's family. They are shocked of course."

Dane Messam, 52, of Henry Road, Finsbury Park, has been charged with Ms Anderson's murder.

A pre-trial plea hearing will take place on November 22 and a date for the trial has been set for February 2022.

To support Helen's family see bit.ly/3nP6nbQ.