The prosecuting counsel in the murder trial of Gracious David West and second accused person, Nimi ThankGod, has said that witnesses will be called at the next adjourned date to prove the guilt of defendants in the case.
In an interview after the trial on Thursday, Chidi Ekeh, principal state counsel in Department of Public Prosecutions, Rivers State, said that the witnesses would be called to prove that first and second defendants are guilty of the charges against them.
He said that the second accused person, a woman, was charged alongside first defendant, David West, because of her misconduct with the corpse of one of the victims of first defendant.
He said that the second accused person was included in the charge when the Rivers State Government took over the case from Rivers State Police Command saying that the Police did not include her in their charge.
First defendant in the case, David West, is facing trial for the alleged murder of women in different hotels in Port-Harcourt this year while the second defendant is facing trial for indecently interfering with corpse of one of the victims of the first defendant and treating it with indignity by removing and dumping it at a dumpsite.
Ekeh said: “There is a second person to the charge. That person is not being charged for the offence of murder but for misconduct with corpse. A corpse was found under the bed in one of the rooms in their hotel (but) rather than report to the police or any authority to create awareness about this, what they did in that hotel… was to conceal that fact (and) looked for a black nylon, packed the corpse of the deceased and went and dumped it at a dustbin along Aggrey Road… So we filed the charge (and) included her as the second defendant (for her) to come and tell the world why they did what they did and today since both of them have taken plea, we have adjourned to a new date to enable us call the witnesses to prove their guilt”.
David West faces nine counts of murder with one count of attempted murder.
When the charges were read to him in court on Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges, although he had pleaded guilty to nine charges of murder and not guilty to one charge of attempted murder read to him in court at a previous sitting.
On her part, the second defendant also pleaded not guilty when the one count charge of indecently interfering with corpse and treating it with indignity by removing and dumping it at a dumpsite was read to her in court on Thursday.
Addressing the court, counsel to second defendant, Barrister Edward Obiokor, said that the court should grant his client bail on the ground that she was widowed recently.
The prosecuting counsel did not oppose the bail application by second defendant's counsel saying he took into consideration the fact that second defendant was bereaved having recently lost her husband but said that the bail should be on condition that second defendant would always be available in court for trial after she was granted bail.
On his part, first defendant's counsel, Barrister V.V. Ohorchukwu, said that he would not comment on the bail application by second defendant's counsel.
He however told the judge that Police were holding some property of his client and named them to include wristwatch and a sum of money saying that he wants the police to release them to his client.
The presiding judge of Port-Harcourt High Court before whom the matter came up, Justice Adolphus Enebeli, however said the multiple number of lives of victims of the first defendant should matter more and asked first defendant's counsel not to bring up issue of property of his client.
In his ruling, Justice Enebeli granted the application for bail by second defendant's counsel saying he had consideration for second defendant's bereavement and granted the application in the sum of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000.00) with one surety whose residential address he said was to be verified and to provide four passport photographs.
He said that the matter should have speedy trial and adjourned the case to the 9th, 11th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 19th and 20th of December, 2019.