The Rivers State police command had on Thursday, September 19, made a breakthrough in its manhunt for a suspected serial women killer, Gracious David-West.
The command said David-West, was arrested along the East-West Road while fleeing to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The state commissioner of police, Mr. Mustapha Dandaura said while parading the suspect in Port Harcourt yesterday that the command had a breakthrough following the enforcement of directives to hotels in the state to install close circuit television cameras.
“One of the hotels in Port Harcourt who complied with our directive to install CCTV cameras in the reception and hotel corridors was monitoring the camera and saw the picture of the suspect, Gracious David-West and uploaded the video on-line and it went viral on social media.
“The hotel later reported to the police about the development and released to us the telephone number he dropped with the hotel. We began to track him on his phone, and with God on our side, he was arrested along Bori, Ogoni axis of East-west road while on his way to Akwa Ibom, yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.”
On how the suspect was arrested, Dandaura said: “The command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) team was on their usual stop and search duties when they intercepted a commercial bus heading towards Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. When they offloaded the passengers of the vehicle for one on one search, with the help of the viral photo, they saw the suspect in the same attire (strip T-shirt and blue trousers), on the video, which he is also putting on now.
He said the suspect confessed during interrogation that he was the brain behind most of the killings carried out in hotels in the state.
“To be sure of what he said, we asked him to name the hotels where he had killed. He brought out the list which marched with the hotels where the killings took place in the state. “Then we demanded to know the reason, motives for the killings and why young and unmarried women. He said he does not know, that the urge comes to him just like that, and that when it comes, he will make arrangement with a Lady, go and book a room in any hotel of his choice and take the woman to the room, kill her and leave the place,” said Dandaura.
Speaking with journalists, David-West confessed that he killed five ladies in hotels in Port Harcourt and one each in Ikeja, Lagos and Owerri, Imo.
“I don’t know what is making me to kill. Immediately the urge comes on me, I kill and after killing, I will start regretting. I even went to Lord Chosen Church, and told the pastor that I have been killing girls in hotels and the pastor said that they have a crusade programme and invited me to see the senior pastor but I waited and couldn’t see him so I left the church and went back and lodged in a hotel. Seriously, I don’t know what makes me to kill, whenever it comes on me that is when I kill, later I regret and feel sober but after, I will still go and kill again.
“When we (he and the girl) go into the hotel, after eating and making love, we sleep. When she is sleeping, I will put the kitchen knife on her neck and ask her not to shout. I told her if she shout I will kill her with the knife. So the girl out of fear will not shout and I will tell her that I will not kill her but she should just cooperate and see what I will do to her, that I will just tie her and keep, and she will cooperate by relaxing. Then I will tear the pillow case and tie her hands and legs, and as I strangle her, she will not have any power to struggle with me.
“While this will be going on, some of them will tell me, what do I want, that they have money in their accounts, I will ask her how much, they will check it before me, when I confirm, 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 will use the money and get other girls. I have killed five girls in Port Harcourt, one in Owerri and one in Lagos. 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, and returned to Port Harcourt. I met the last girl at a club.
“After that I will collect their phones, and sell at waterline, another at MTN office.”
He said he did not have to use any gun. Instead, he said he used a sharp knife in all his operations.
“When the victim is asleep, I will strangle her. If she wakes up I will use the knife to threaten her not to scream. I will increase the volume of the television in the room so much that even if she manages to scream, nobody will hear her voice. At that point, I will demand for her ATM pin if she had the card with her.
After the victim had died, he said he would strip her of all the vital items in her handbag, her phone, cash, ATM card, among others, before he would leave the room and the hotel.
A native of Buguma local government area of Rivers State, David-West was alleged have been an armed robber who was later rehabilitated by a church which later assisted him to secure a job at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
Despite that, he was said to have carried on with his criminal activities until June 2018 when the police declared him wanted.
With ThisDay report