Serial Killing: Suspect Confessed to Crime – Police
By Samuel Akpan
Police say the prime suspect in the serial killings in Rivers state has confessed to committing the crime after he was arrested on Thursday.
Police say the suspect, identified as Gracious David West, was arrested along East-West Road en-route to Uyo from Port Harcourt.
Commissioner of Police (CP) in Rivers State, Mustapha Dandaura while briefing newsmen said the suspect confessed freely without any intimidation or torture.
Mustapha also explained the suspect’s mode of killing his victims as gotten from his confession.
“He is the main serial killer and he has confessed without any intimidation, without any torture, freely. He has been killing these girls,” Dandaura said.
“We even asked him how he did that killing, he told us what he did. He doesn’t take a gun, he has no gun, and he uses a sharp knife.”
Expatiating further, the Police Commissioner said the suspect strangled his victims while they were asleep, and would turn up the volume of the television so as to drown any sound made from screaming.
According to the CP, “when his victim is asleep, he would go and strangulate her on the neck. As she wakes up, he will be pointing that sharp knife and tell her not to scream, if she does, he will stab her.
“He would increase the volume of the TV in the hotel room so that nobody will hear her even if she screams. He will then ask her to give him the PIN number to her ATM card if she has one with her after she discloses the PIN, he would continue to strangle her until she stops breathing. He would then remove her phone, money, and jewelry and leave the hotel room.”
Investigation is said to be on to ascertain the suspect’s motives and possible accomplices even as his modus-operandi, especially with the reported pattern of a white cloth seen tied on his victims’ hands, waist and body, drew questions.
Dandaura revealed that the suspect, who is 26-year old from Buguma LGA in Rivers State, confessed to using the pillow sheets from the hotel room as a tool even as one of the deceased was found in a hotel wardrobe.
“There’s one of the victims we recovered in a wardrobe, when we asked him why he put her there, he said he put the victim in the wardrobe because he had given his clothes to the laundryman for washing at that time, and he had already killed the girl, and didn’t want to alert attention when his clothes were returned,” the CP narrated.
“He only moves with these clothes and immediately he kills, he checks out of the hotel”, the CP pointed out.
The suspect, David West, may have been involved in a series of crimes within and outside the state even after being rehabilitated by Omega Power Ministry (OPM) Church in Rivers state.
A representative of OPM Church had confirmed to our correspondent that 26-year old was rehabilitated by the church and offered a job but he was arrested in Aba after he went back to crime.
At least eight women have been killed in hotel rooms in the last two months. A situation that sparked public outcry with many women groups in the state staging demonstrations to call for immediate action to end the menace.
The Rivers State CP also reiterated on the need for improved security, calling on hotel owners to install CCTV cameras in their hotels so as to help identify people who come into the facility.
“That is why we insist that all these short-time hotels must install CCTV cameras. They don’t take any documentation of these guests. The CCTV camera that captured him walking into the hotel and climbing the stairs and being followed by the lady he killed actually assisted the Police in capturing him, cos that was the last killing he did and that was the only hotel that had a CCTV camera”, Dandaura noted.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly has set up a three-man ad-hoc committee to liaise with other government agencies to stamp out the serial killings of young women in hotels in the state.
This follows the motion presented to the Assembly by the lawmaker representing Emohua Constituency, Sam Ogeh.
Mr. Ogeh said there is need for the Assembly to enact laws that will tackle the menace and give hotel operators new strategies to handle such issues.
Speaker of the House, Ikuinyi -OwajiIbani announced that the Committee on serial killing in Rivers State is made up of Kelechi Nwogu, Solomon Sokolo and Michael Chinda.
Correspondent Joshua Ezedike reports that the Rivers State House of Assembly also set up another ad-hoc committee headed by Christian Ahiakwo to conduct a public hearing on the Bill on Public Security after debate by the lawmakers.
Additional reports by Chioma Ezenwafor and Joshua Ezedike