Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court, on Thursday, praised Gracious David West, the prime suspect in the murder of several girls in hotels for composing himself in court and not hallucinating as usual.
Justice Enebeli handed West the praise as he reversed his initial guilty plea to not guilty on fresh charges of murder and attempted murder filed against him by the state government.
West had on October 20 pleaded guilty to nine out of the 10-count charge brought against him by the Rivers State Police Command.
West was charged alongside Nimi ThankGod, a manager of one of the hotels where one of the victims was murdered and her body dumped along Aggrey Road, Old Port Harcourt Township.
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Mrs Thankgod who is facing a one-count charge of misconduct against a corpse pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Recall that Rivers State government through the Attorney-General, Honourable Zacchaeus Adangor, after taking over the matter from Police, withdrew previous charges against West and substituted same with fresh charges that also fingered Nimi ThankGod.
Nimi ThankGod who is said to be a cousin of a former Attorney-General of the state is a widow whose husband died a week ago.
During the court proceeding, Counsel to the 2nd Defendant, Nimi ThankGod, filed an application for bail with reasons that the charge against his client under section 242 of the criminal laws of Rivers State is a bailable offence.
The counsel added that the 2nd Defendant is prepared to go through the trial, as she willingly came to court without anyone serving her court documents.
Counsel to Gracious David West, also made an application before the court asking that the properties of his client such as; wristwatch, money and bag that are in Police custody be released to him.
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Justice Adolphus Enebeli after listening to the counsels granted bail to the 2nd Defendant in the sum of five hundred thousand naira or one surety in like sum.
The Judge did not grant the application of 1st Defendant’s Counsel with reasons that the matter is a capital offence that involves multiple lives, therefore the 1st Defendant shouldn’t be asking for such demands.
Justice Enebeli urged Counsels in the case to double their efforts and conclude the matter in no distant time.
He adjourned to 9th, 11th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th December for hearing.
Speaking to our reporter, Tina Amanda, Edward Obiokor, Counsel to 2nd Defendant, said his client has no cause to run away from the trial after being granted bail.
“The Prosecution are alleging that my client was disrespectful to a corpse, that is exactly the charge brought against her. The offence is bailable and the court agreed with us, they are two distinct charges”
Also, State Prosecuting Counsel, Chidi Ekeh, said the 2nd Defendant is being charged for concealing the corpse found under the bed in their hotel room without making a formal report to the police or relevant authority.
“There is a second person to the charge who is not charged for murder but for misconduct against a corpse, a corpse found under the bed in one of the rooms in their hotel.
“Rather than report to the police or any authority, what they did in that hotel was to conceal that fact, looked for a black nylon and wrapped the corpse and dumped it at a refuse dump along Aggrey Road.
“Meanwhile, the friends of the young lady that was murdered were looking for her. Unknown to the hotel, before the deceased left, she had informed her friends where she was going to. So her friends traced her to the hotel and the 2nd Defendant chased them away with claims that the deceased lady had checked out long ago.
“The deceased friends refused to go, that their friend has not returned home. While they were searching for her, they got information of a corpse lying at a refuse dump, they went there and discovered it was actually their friend that was murdered.
“Police did not charge the 2nd Defendant initially, but when we took over the Prosecution from the Police, the office of the Attorney-General of the state went through the Police file and read it from the beginning to the end and discovered that the 2nd Defendant needs to be charged”