Twenty-eight-year-old Samuel Udoterg Willison, who broke cells after he was picked up on suspicion of kidnapping teenage girls in Takoradi, has pleaded not guilty to fresh charges brought against him.
At the Takoradi District Court on Wednesday, the suspect, believed to be a Nigerian national, pleaded not guilty to causing unlawful damage by destroying police property (iron rods he cut to escape cells); escaping from police custody and resisting arrest (on January 3, during his re-arrest).
He was being held by police in the oil city for kidnapping at least three girls in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis from October to December 2018.
His escape from cells triggered a manhunt and caused the police administration to issue a stern warning to the seven police officers on duty before the suspect broke cells.
Dress, scarf strengthens police case
Last week, relatives of the kidnapped teenage girls hit the streets to force authorities to fast-track efforts to bring back the girls.
The aggrieved parents were joined in the demonstration by residents of the metropolis who say the recent rise in kidnapping of girls has become disturbing.
Joy News’ Western Region Correspondent, Inna-Thalia Quansah, reports that residents say seven teenage girls have been kidnapped, but police refute this claim and say only three girls have been reported kidnapped.
During Wednesday’s trial at the Takoradi Circuit Court, police presented a scarf and a dress belonging 15-year-old Priscila Korange, which was found at the hideout of the suspect as proof that he is neck deep in the kidnappings.
“Hundreds of residents within the metropolis flooded the court itching to see the suspected kidnapper,” Quansah reported from the court on Wednesday.
The court presided over by Michael Ampadu, has adjourned the case to January 16 upon request of the state prosecutors.
The latest victim of the wave of kidnappings includes a 16-year-old Senior High School student who was captured on August 15, 2018, according to the reporter. She was found at dawn the next day.
She could not speak when she was found close to her home, Quansah reported. She could only write and send text messages.
According to reports, the teenager later drew a snake with two heads, signs that some have associated with rituals, waist beads and strange objects.
Another victim, a 21-year-old woman, was kidnapped and held for a long time until her family paid a GH¢4,000 ransom via mobile money to secure her release.
The suspected serial kidnapper in the Western Region town was re-arrested on Friday dawn after breaking cells last week.
His re-arrest and the suspicion that his escape may have been facilitated by some police personnel triggered the residents and relatives of the kidnapped girls to stage the protest.
Police are yet to give details on how the suspect was re-arrested but photos show the suspect bloodied in the head and without pants.
Meanwhile, the relatives of some kidnapped victims were called by the Bureau for National Investigations (BNI) officials Friday morning to identify the suspect.
In the video below, Priscila’s father narrates his experience:
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.