Misha with her father
Published: 1 August, 2014
by PETER GRUNER
THE 24-year-old daughter of Christian Wolmar, the Holloway-based Labour London Mayoral hopeful, has escaped serious injury after being thrown with her bike into the Regent’s Canal.
Police are investigating the assault at 9.15am on Sunday when Misha MccGwire, who had been cycling along the towpath close to Dunston Street, Hackney, was approached by two young men who then pushed her and her bike into the water.
The incident has sparked a major row over the “lawlessness” and lack of safety and security along the towpath.
Misha, Mr Wolmar’s daughter with his previous partner, journalist Scarlett MccGwire, is a Hull University English and history graduate, and was on her way to a restaurant where she works part-time at Canary Wharf.
She was badly upset and shaken but otherwise unhurt after the attack. She did not need hospital treatment but an ambulance took her back home to Holloway for a change of clothes.
Towpath walkers helped pull Misha out of the water and several chased after the two men, but they had disappeared.
Mr Wolmar, Britain’s leading transport commentator and writer, said the worst aspect for Misha was the suddenness and shock.
“One minute she was happily cycling along on a nice morning and the next these two young men had got up from a bench and were standing in her path,” he said. “She rang her bell but they just stood on the spot and then for no reason pushed her into the canal.
“Her bike fell on top of her in the water, which could have posed a problem. But fortunately the water was relatively shallow – about four feet – and she managed to get out with the help of walkers.
“Her mobile phone was ruined and she needed a new one but amazingly her passport, which was in her pocket, was usable. On Monday, she was able to fly off for a holiday in Italy.”
Ian Shacklock, chairman of pressure group Friends of Regent’s Canal, said he understood it was the second incident in a week in which someone was pushed into the canal.
“This is a bit of a wake-up call,” he said. “I don’t want to stop people using the towpath but cyclists and walkers need to be aware of the dangers.”
St Peter’s ward councillor Martin Klute said the incident was yet another example of the lack of security and effective enforcement of the canal and towpath by charity Canal and River Trust (formerly British Waterways).
A spokeswoman for the trust said the organisation was asking the public to contact it about this kind of incident. “It helps us focus our attentions on specific areas if they become problematic,” she said. “It also gives us leverage when speaking to police to request more patrols on towpaths in certain areas where a crime has occurred.
“Christian has responded to our email of support to say that this dreadful experience has not put his daughter off cycling to work on the towpaths. This kind of incident is nasty but fortunately very rare.”