The Sekondi High Court, trying two accused for allegedly murdering four young girls in the twin-city Sekondi-Takoradi, adjourned after counsel for the accused failed to appear in court to observe self-isolation while undergoing treatment for the COVID-19 pandemic.
After hours of waiting, the presiding judge, Justice Richard Adjei-Frimpong, adjourned the case to October 5, 2020, due to the outbreak, which had been communicated to the court.
Justice Adjei-Frimpong said the court had been informed that the office of one of the lawyers of the two accused persons recorded a positive case of COVID-19, therefore the need to follow the required procedures.
The court, which was hearing the case statements from the families of the four missing girls, was left with no option but to adjourn.
Presenting the facts of the case, the State Chief State Attorney, led by Ms. Patience Klinogo, said the accused persons were both Nigerians and friends.
The first accused, Samuel Udeotuk Wills, who claims to be a trader, was a resident of Kansaworado in Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, while the second accused, John Oji, also claims to be a salesman at Port Harcourt in Nigeria, who visited the first accused at Kansaworado regularly.
The prosecutors said the four victims in the case were identified as Ruth Abeka, aged 18, who resided at Diabene with her grandparents and other siblings; Priscilla Blessing Bentum, a 21-year-old student of University of Education, Winneba, also resided at Diabenekrom with the parents.
The other two were identified as Ruth-Love Quayson, aged 18, a student who resided at Diabenekrom with her parents, while Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, a 15-year-old student, also resided at Fijai Hills with her parents.
Ms. Klinogo said during investigations, the police discovered that the Tigo number 0576679518, which had been used to call Bentum several times on August 17, 2018, prior to her kidnap that day, belonged to the first accused.
Wills itemised bills
An examination of Udeotuk-Wills’ itemised bills indicated that he had used an MTN number 0550905425 to communicate with both Quayson and Koranchie prior to their kidnapping, saying: “The Vodafone numbers into which Ruth-Love and Priscilla Koranchie parents paid the ransoms were found to belong to Udeotuk-Wills.
In the same year, December 22, 2018, Police intelligence led to the arrest of Udeotuk-Wills from his hideout at the outskirts of Kansaworado.
John Oji’s arrest
On June 4, 2019, Oji was arrested by the police in Aflao at the border and handed over to the CID at the Police National Headquarters in Accra.
Saying “during investigations, a conversation between Udeotuk Wills and John on Facebook was discovered on Udeotuk Wills mobile phone.
In the discussion, the two accused discussed kidnapping and how substances such as cocaine and heroin could be administered to victims.
“Expressions like ‘KDP’ and ‘RBS’ meaning kidnap and ritual blood sacrifices were some of the discussions uncovered between the two accused persons.”
The two were then charged with kidnapping, while the search for the victims continued and that between August 2 and August 5, 2019, a combined team of police investigators from the Western Region and CID headquarters, Accra, conducted a search at Udeotuk-Wills’s former residence leading to the retrieval of some skeletons, which were subjected to forensic examination that proved that they were those of the missing girls.
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