Rivers serial killer makes U-Turn, denies being guilty

Suspected serial killer Gracious David West has pleaded not guilty to all the 10-count charges read against him in court.

West, who is being tried for the murder of nine girls in similar circumstances in several hotels in Port Harcourt, had three weeks ago pleaded guilty to nine of the 10-count charge.

He, however, made a retraction when the matter came up in court.

The suspect pleaded with the court to direct the police to release his wrist watch, money and neck chains.

He was remanded in prison by Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt, following an oral application by counsel for the state Chidi Eke to enable the state prove its case.

A second accused person, Nimi ThankGod, also pleaded not guilty on the 11-count charge.

ThankGod, who is the manager of the Tourist Guest House at 29 Bende Street, Port Harcourt, where one of the victims was killed, is being charged with conspiring to remove the corpse of the victim from the hotel and dumping it along Aggrey road.

He was later granted bail in the sum of N500,000, and a surety in like sum.

ThankGod’s counsel, Edward Obiokor, while applying for bail of his client, reminded the court that the hotel manager was charged for misconduct with the corpse and not murder.

He added that she even helped to rescue one of the victims who the prime suspected also attempted to murder in the same hotel, adding that the lucky victim survived the attack and is alive.

In an interview with reporters shortly after the sitting, the Lead Posection Officer from the state Ministry of Justice, Eke, who represented the Attorney-General, said “David-West was arranged before this same court for the killing of nine young women in the state, [and]  he pleaded guilty to nine of the 10 charges given to him.

“Today, he has changed his guilty plea to not guilty. However, his guilty plea did not make any difference because the court will still write not guilty for him because he is charged with a capital offence,” Eke stated.

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned the case till December 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19 and 20 for hearing in the matter.

Trial Judge Enebeli promised to adjourn all other cases before hin in each of these days to ensure speedy justice delivery.

In a related development, Rivers State Commissioner of Police Mustapha Dandaura has disclosed that some of the corpses of the girls who were allegedly murdered by Gracious David West are yet to be claimed by their relatives from the mortuary.

Dandaura spoke in Port Harcourt when he received an award from the Port Harcourt Significant Girls Initiatives, maintaining that most of the girls killed by the suspect were prostitutes.

“Let me tell you till today, some of the corpses are still there inside the mortuary.They are still inside the mortuary. Nobody has come to claim them,” he said.

“When I was saying that most of these girls he was killing were prostitutes, some of you took offence that why should I call them prostitutes. One woman started shouting; she fell down on the ground, that even if she is a prostitute that can’t we cover her.

“I said, look, unless you are a prostitute, you will not just follow somebody you don’t know. If you are a decent girl, parents should know your whereabouts”, Dandaura said.

State Police Commissioner Dandaura also said some persons who bought phones from West have been arrested.

Meanwhile, convener of the Port Harcourt Significant Girls Initiative, Nengi Jumbo, said the award was to commend the police for heeding to the calls of residents of the state and taking steps to arrest the serial killer, even as she advised single girls to be careful.

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