TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
At last, the notorious Port Harcourt serial killer of young women, Gracious David West, has been nabbed by the Rivers State Police Command. The arrest of the 39-year-old man followed an outcry by members of repeated killing of the victims in hotels in Rivers State.
West hails from Buguma, in Asar-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers. He was paraded yesterday (Friday) by state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, at the Police Command headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
Saturday Sun gathered that the suspect was arrested last Thursday, by Police team on a routine stop and search operation along Ogoni axis of the East/West road enroute to Akwa Ibom State.
It would be recalled that recently, the suspect was sighted in a CCTV camera in one of the hotel receptions in Port Harcourt after allegedly killing a female victim.
In his confession, the suspect admitted that he has killed seven girls. West claimed that he was under spiritual manipulation coming from a polygamous home, where he said he is the only son of the family with female siblings.
He described: “I am a native of Buguma in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. I was born in 1980. I don’t know what is causing me to kill women in the hotel. When the spirit comes, it will be pushing me to go and kill, then, after killing the person, I will start regretting my actions.
The young man further disclosed that he had also committed same crime in Lagos and Owerri. He revealed that phones recovered from the victims were sold to a phone dealer known as Shina at Garrison, in the State capital.
“I always go to the hotel with a kitchen knife. When we (with the girl), go inside the hotel room after eating, after making love, we will sleep for a while. When the girl is sleeping, I will hold her on the neck with the knife and wake her up. I will tell her not to shout; that if she shouts, I would cut off her throat with the knife. At that threat, the girl will not shout. So, she will relax believing that I will not kill her. I will promise her that I will only tie her and keep but will not kill her.
“After that, I will tear the pillow case and use it to tie her hands and legs; so, when I will kill her, she will not struggle with me. But, before I kill her, I will increase the volume of the television in the room, so no one will suspect my action.
“While this will be going on, some of them will ask me, how do I want it? That, they have money in their accounts. I would ask her how much; they would check it before me. When I confirm it, I collect the pin number and after the day breaks, when I must have killed them, I will go to ATM and collect the money in the account.
“I would use the money and get other girls. I have killed five girls in Port Harcourt; seven owerri. I started the killing in Lagos; that was where I got money because the first girl had N52,000 in her account. After that, I went to Port Harcourt, then Owerri. I returned to Port Harcourt; the last girl, I met her in the club.
“After that, I would collect the phone, and sell the phone at Waterlines, another at MTN office. After killing them, I take their phones and sell it to one boy called Shina in Garrison.
“After killing the victim, I will stay in the room till daybreak until the laundry I gave me cloth to wash brings back my cloth. Then, I will leave the hotel room, leave no suspicion in mind of the hotel management”, he stated.
According to him, he had attended one of the popular Pentecostal churches in Oyigbo Local Government Area in the state, to meet the pastor for spiritual deliverance.
“I even went to the church (name withheld), a branch in Oyigbo. I told the pastor that I kill girls in a hotel, that I don’t know what is happening to me and he should help me.
“So, the pastor told me that they have a programme that I should come back on Friday. He said that they don’t allow people to sleep in the church. He told me to come back the next day, so he can take me to their General Overseer, who will be at the crusade.
“When I told him that it will be hard for me to see their GO, he said I should go that there is no other way he can help me.
“After I left the church, I went to lodge in a hotel and slept alone that day. I am the one doing all the serial killings in Port Harcourt. I was with a girl two days ago. But, I didn’t harm her. But, when it comes on me I will kill the person”, he confessed.
Earlier, CP Dandaura stated that the 39 years old suspect confessed the killing of girls in Lagos, Owerri and Port Harcourt. He expressed delight that one of the prime suspects in the killing that has caused panic in the state has been arrested.
He said: “I am delighted to have you here today, barely three days after I had addressed you on the rising cases of mindless killings in hotels in the state and the measures put in place by the Command to arrest the seemingly disturbing trend which had attracted both international and local condemnation.
“Today, it is my pleasure to announce to you that resulting from the measures put in place, the Command has apprehended Gracious David West 39 years from Bugum in Asari Toru LGA of Rivers State.
“The suspect was arrested in a commercial bus enroute Akwa Akwa Ibom State. He confessed to have carried out five killings in Port Harcourt, one in Owerri and another in Lagos state. He was on his way to Akwa Ibom, having seen that Rivers State was no longer conducive for him. Whereupon he was arrested by the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Bori, who were on a routine stop and search along Ogoni axis of the East/West road.
“The suspect is definitely not alone in these killings, though he had made useful confessions. But, the Command will go beyond his confessions to ensure that a conclusive end is achieved that will serve the interest of justice. So far, three suspects are in our custody and are being investigated in connection with these killings”, Dandaura disclosed.