The State Prosecution has opened its case with three witnesses testifying before Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, against the alleged Serial killer Gracious David West.
West was arrested on September 20 for the murder and attempted murder of young ladies in hotels in Port Harcourt.
Testifying before the court, Mr Chigboo Ebeke, Manager of a hotel located at Location Road in Oyigbo local government area, where Linda Samuel was killed, told the court that on 6th September at about 4:pm David Gracious West came to the hotel, ordered for a drink at the bar and introduced himself to the Director of the hotel as a Military Officer from 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt.
Ebeke further testified that David Gracious West later booked room number 313 at the reception with a different name, Kachi Tom Jonah.
He said that while Gracious West continued drinking at the bar, he noticed Linda Samuel at the bar, beckoned on her, they got talking and at about 10 pm he took her to his room.
Ebeke said that the corpse of Linda was discovered the next day, 7th September, at noontime when the hotel Potter tried severally to clean the room and noticed that it was locked.
He added that the lady’s hands, legs were tied and her neck tied with a white handkerchief.
He told the court that the matter was immediately reported to the police, the lady’s body was taken to the hospital where she was confirmed dead and her corpse deposited at the mortuary, stressing that he was arrested and detained for a week at the police station.
Also, John Nyang, Manager of a hotel located at Woji Road – GRA Phase 2, where Jennifer Wokecha was murdered, testified that on the 14th August 2019, David Gracious West booked room 108, and the body of the deceased was discovered after several knocking attempts made by a staff and no response came from the occupants of the room.
According to him, the lifeless body of the lady was found on the bed, her legs, hands tied and her neck tied with a white handkerchief.
He said the matter was reported to the Police and he was detained at the Police State Criminal Investigation Department Port Harcourt after giving his statement.
Nyeche Sabinus, Manager of a hotel at D/Line Port Harcourt, where Maureen Ewuru was murdered, said that on July 30th he booked room 132, and the body of the lady was discovered on the 31st July, adding that Maureen’s lifeless body was found tied to the bed, her neck tied with white handkerchief.
He told the court that the incident was reported to the Police, the corpse deposited at mortuary after confirmation of her death by a doctor, adding that he was also detained at the police station.
The presiding Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, adjourned the case to 11th December for the continuation of cross-examination of prosecuting witnesses.
Vincent Chuku, Counsel to 1st Defendant David Gracious West told our correspondent Tina Amanda, that the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client actually committed the crime.
“The witnesses must be cross-examined, they have to further prove the fact they have stated before the court, they must be thoroughly examined to know the veracity of their statement, that is why the matter is in court”
On his part, Principal State Counsel of the Rivers State Ministry of Justice, Chidi Ekeh, said the state is ready to prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion.
“Three witnesses were brought today to testify and they were all managers of the various hotels where the murder incidences took place. I have a long list of witnesses, but we don’t intend to call all.
“What the law requires is not to call a community of witness but to call relevant witnesses that can help us establish our case.
“So, if I call three or four more witnesses and I know that I have proved all elements of the offence of murder, in that instance I will end it at that point”