The remains of one of the grils as they exit the court yesterday
It was a solemn moment at the premises of the Sekondi High Court yesterday when the skeletal remains confirmed to be that of the four missing girls in Takoradi were brought to court.
There were scores of residents in the Sekondi -Takoradi Metropolis who lined up by the road side leading to the court premises, hoping to catch a glimpse of the skeletal remains.
The bones of the missing girls were in court as part of the ongoing hearing of the trial of two Nigerians namely Samuel Odoetuk Wills and John Oji, who allegedly kidnapped and killed the four missing girls.
It would be recalled that at the last court sitting on Friday, October 23, 2020, the seven-member jury empanelled for the trial of the two suspects in the case, requested to see the bones of the girls retrieved from a septic tank in the metropolis.
This was after the head of the Pathology Department of the Police Hospital in Accra, Supt Dr. Osei Owusu Afriyie, had testified in the case as the 19th witness.
Following the request, the court presided over by Justice Richard Adjei-Frimpong ordered the pathologist to arrange and ensure that the skeletal remains were brought to court.
The skeletal remains of the four girls were contained in four separate caskets and were transported from the Police Hospital in Accra,where the DNA tests was conducted, to Sekondi.
Immediately the police arrived with the remains, they quickly carried the caskets one after the other into a chamber in the court room.
Initial reports were that the caskets were going to be opened at the forecourt of the court premises for people around to also have a look at the skeletal remains.
However, that was not the case. When the police van arrived, security was very tight as no one was allowed to go near the van.
The four caskets were then carried into the chamber by police personnel.
The seven-member jury, the lawyers for the suspects, the Chief State Attorney and the presiding judge were led by the pathologist, to have a look at the bones.
After spending about 10 minutes at the chamber where the remains were sent, they all came out for proceedings to continue.
The jury was therefore given the opportunity to ask any questions and seek clarifications on what they saw.
The jury wanted the pathologist to explain why they could not see any sign of ‘ligature’ as he claimed there were on the bones in his previous evidence to the court.
The pathologist, Supt Dr. Owusu Afriyie, explained that it was because there were no soft tissues.
He, however, said the test they conducted indicated there were ligatures.
George Essiful-Ansah, counsel for Samuel Udoetuk Wills, said after looking at the bones, it seemed they were of the same height.
The pathologist responded that because there were no soft tissues one might think the skeletons were of the same height, adding, “However, when the bones are measured you could detect that they are of different heights.”
The trial judge, Justice Adjei-Frimpong also asked, “From your observation, will you say that the ligature was from external source?”
The pathologist answered in the affirmative and said if it were to be mass suicide, it would have been concealed, and added that “But in this instance, there was obvious concealment. The nature of the tying indicated it was from external source.”
The missing girls included Priscilla Blessing Bentum, 21, Ruth Love Quayson, 18, Piscilla Mantebea Kuranchie, 15 and Ruth Abakah.