In picture above: Detective Inspector Will O’Reilly (L) and John Azah of the Independent Advisory Group place a wreath in the River Thames at the place where the torso of a boy, who police have called ‘Adam’, was found a year ago, September 21, 2002. A minutes silence was observed at a memorial service held in City Hall before the wreath laying. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid/File Photo
Twenty years after the torso of a Nigerian boy was found in the River Thames, men of the Scotland Yard are still searching for answers to the mystery and want anyone with information about the murder to come forward to help solve the case.
The killing suspected to be a ritualistic killing concerns a boy, possibly aged five or six whose body, which had had the head and limbs severed, was found floating near Tower Bridge.
Picture 1. The Calabar (esere) bean possibly used to poison the Nigerian boy before killing and dismembering him; Picture 2. The picture released by Joy Osagiede to ITV; Picture 3. An artist’s impression of the torso found floating on the River Thames.
Police believe he was trafficked from Nigeria to Britain, possibly via Germany.
The boy’s identity remains a mystery.
But the police have named him “Adam” and say forensic tests show he was from Nigeria.
“It is incredibly sad and frustrating that Adam’s murder remains unsolved,” said Kate Kieran, a homicide detective at the Metropolitan Police.
She said people who knew something about the killing may not have wanted to speak up at the time and may have felt loyal to the killer or killers, but allegiances and relationships may have changed.
“We implore them to be bold and come forward if they know something so that we can finally deliver justice,” said Kieran.
The case has been the subject of numerous high-profile appeals over the years, including by Nelson Mandela who asked all African communities to help the police.
British detectives have made inquiries in Britain, South Africa, Holland, Germany and Nigeria.
In 2011, the British press reported that the Metropolitan Police Squad (Scotland Yard) had identified the boy.
A Nigerian woman, Joy Osagiede, the only person to be arrested in Britain as part of the inquiry, claimed that the missing boy identified was indeed her ward, Ikpomwosa, and released her photograph to ITV who interviewed her.
In an interview with ITV’s London Tonight, Mrs Osiagede said she looked after the boy in Germany for a year before travelling to Britain without him in 2001.
She claimed she handed the boy over to a man known as Bawa who later told her that he was dead and threatened to kill her unless she kept silent.
Scotland Yard said that the identification of the boy was a huge breakthrough in the case.
Police have passed numerous files on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service but it has never gone to court.
A second suspect, a Nigerian man, was arrested in Dublin in 2003 but was never charged.
(with Reuters reports)