Tadi Girls Kidnappers sentenced to death – Report
The Sekondi High Court One has today March 5, 2021, delivered its judgment in the trial of the two men accused of kidnapping and murdering Priscilla Blessing Bentum and Ruth Abekah, in some parts of the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis in 2018.
Reports from the court indicate the accused persons were convicted on eight counts. the Jury who sat on the case found them guilty on all the counts and sentenced them to death.
Some family members who spoke with our reporter Nana Yaw Kumi expressed mixed feelings about the judgment. Mr. Bentum insisted his daughter is still alive. Mr. Mintabea Koranche on the other hand, however, others who believe their relatives are no more.
The final judgment follows the end of the submission by the defense lawyers of Samuel Udeotuk Wills and John Oji.
At the last sitting, the prosecution was made to file their written addresses on Wednesday, February 17, while the oral hearing of the jury was heard on Wednesday, March 3.
The forensic examination had earlier confirmed the identities of the girls after the police had retrieved their remains from a septic tank in the vicinity of the residence of the accused.
During cross-examination by the Chief State Attorney, Madam Patience Klinogo, the second accused, John Oji rejected the investigators’ statement that they had retrieved some Facebook conversation between him and the first accused, Udeotuk Wills.
He explained that the mobile phone he used did not support social media applications.
Madam Klinogo has said Oji and Wills had discussed the use of blood sacrifices for money in those conversations but Oji disagreed with her.
She asked: “During one of such conversations, first accused asked whether you can kill someone for money and you said yes,” but Oji replied: “I disagree”.
“Again Udeotuk Wills asked you whether cocaine can make a lady stupor and you said no but he should rather use heroin,” Madam Klinogo pointed out to Oji, who, again, disagreed.
Madam Klinogo, then asked: “Which of the four girls did you know?” and Oji said: “I did not know any of them”.
The prosecutor asked: “Do you know Priscilla Blessing Bentum?”, but he answered in the negative.
“I put it to you that you knew her, she was your girlfriend,” Madam Klinogo pointed out to him, but Oji replied: “I don’t even have a girlfriend in Nigeria. I don’t know any Priscilla”.
The Prosecutor told him: “On 17th August 2018, you personally kidnapped Priscilla Blessing Bentum and you told the first accused about it?” but Oji said: “I disagree with that”.
“On 29th July 2018, you and the first accused agreed to cause the death of Ruth Abekah,” she stated, but Oji, once again, disagreed.
Oji and Wills were arrested by the police following the disappearance of Ruth Love Quayson, 18, a graduate of the Fijai SHS in Takoradi; Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, a student of the University of Education, Winneba, residing at Kansaworodo, a suburb of Takoradi, and Priscilla Mantebea Korankye, 15, a student of the Sekondi SHS.
The disappearance of the girls gained national attention for months as the security services conducted intensive investigations to find the girls and the culprits, while human rights campaigners joined the anguished parents to put pressure on the government to get results.
Summary of the issue
- All three girls kidnapped in 2018
- Two lived at Diabene and one at Kansaworodo, both suburbs of Takoradi
- First to be kidnapped was Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21 years, on 17th August 2018 at Kansaworodo
- Second to be kidnapped was Ruth Love Quayson, 18 years, on 4th December 2018 at Butumagyebu junction
- Third to be kidnapped: Priscilla Mantebea Koranchie, 18 years, on 21st December 2018 at Nkroful
- Evidence of kidnapping: Kidnappers of Ruth Love Quayson, for instance, used her phone to call the mother’s phone and demanded a ransom for her release. They followed up with text messages which included one sent on 6th December 2018 at 5:55 pm which read “Ur daughter is sick u beta pick so she can come back home”
- An account of Sister, Nana Adjoa Quayson in a text: “She left the house around 9:30 to 10 am on the 4th of December 2018 to go to MTN office for a job recruitment then later called us with her phone around 1:30 crying and telling my mom to help her cos e taxi that she took she didn’t see anything again and that some people has taken her into a room demanding for gh500.00 before they will leave her ”.
- 10 thousand ransom was later demanded in a phone call for her release.
- They first went to the Takoradi MTN office before 2 pm on 4th December 2018 for help to trace the number but were refused until the Police request.
- Moved to the Takoradi Market Circle station around 2 pm on the same day but the station told them they already have one unresolved kidnapping case so they should go to the Takoradi Central Police station.
- They then went to the Takoradi Central Police station around 3 pm to report.
- On the 5th of December, 2018 first payment of 100 Ghana cedis was made for her feeding through the kidnapped girl’s phone. The police even recommended they rather pay 50 but the kidnappers said 50 was not enough for her feeding.
- Paid another 100 for medicine on the 6th of December when the kidnappers demanded money to buy medicine for the sister who had taken ill.
- After more demands for the payment of the ransom of 10 thousand which was later bargained down to eight thousand, they went to the BNI on 7th December who advises they request more time to organize.
- Used different numbers to send 500 on the 7th with the consent of the Police and BNI who encouraged them to send to help them to track the number. This led to the arrest of an old student of TTI but he was not connected and later released but the mere coincidence of the same name.
- Another 500 Ghana Cedi was sent with the help of a Pastor to the kidnappers within the second week of kidnapping, which led to the arrest of Sam Udeotuk Wills on 22nd December, a Nigerian, at Kasaworodo two weeks after the kidnapping but escaped on 30th December 2018.
- Between 1st to 3rd January, social media and traditional media took up the issue demanding an investigation into the kidnappings and the escaping.
- First demonstration by relations and friends of kidnapped girls as well as Takoradi residents demanded investigation and prosecution of officers on duty on 4th January morning.
- On the same 4th January 2019 after a two-week ultimatum was given for officers on duty to produce him, the police rearrested the escapee, Sam Udeotuk.
- The suspect appeared before Takoradi District Court on 9th January 2019 on charges of Escaping Unlawful Custody, Resist Arrest, and Destroying public property which he pleaded not guilty to and was remanded.
- The suspect reappears before the court on 16th January 2019 on charges.
- Distressed family of kidnapped Takoradi girls gives police one-week to find girls or face demo
- Kidnapping scare hit Sekondi-Takoradi with numerous alleged kidnapping/attempted incidences.
- W/R Police Command PRO on 22nd January 2019 assures kidnapped girls’ family of continuous investigation, hints of new leads
- Western Police Commander on 23rd January 2019 holds first official press confab on kidnapped girls, laying out how the kidnapping went and their investigation carried. They also said they are following up on certain leads. Alleged messages from suspect Sam Wills’ phone revealed he had a going relationship with the kidnapped girls, taken some ransom, promised some phones and others.
- Takoradi Residents on 25th January mounts street awareness to mount pressure police with the #BringTheTadikidgirls