Arrests in 'Adam' Torso Case
Police are 'tantalizingly close' to breakthrough in Thames torso murder
August 24, 2003 -- Detectives
investigating the voodoo killing of "Adam", the boy whose decapitated and limbless torso was found floating in the Thames
two years ago, believe that they are "tantalizingly close" to charging someone in connection with his murder. The victim,
called 'Adam' by officers after he was found floating in the river near Tower Bridge in September 2001, was between age four
and six. Thirteen days later, a bundle of seven candles wrapped in a sheet with someone's name written on it is retrieved
from the Thames.
This lead goes nowhere for Commander Baker and Detective Inspector O'Reilly
(the case's two leading officers) but it does result in them heading to Africa to further investigate ritual murder. Police
suspect that he was a victim of ritual killing after being brought over from Nigeria. Detectives think Adam was aged between
four and six, and was alive when he arrived in London.
Officers with the Metropolitan Police serious crime group say that recent
developments have left them hopeful they can bring a charge of conspiracy to murder against one of the people they say helped
bring the boy into Britain. "We have almost got our fingers on this person," a senior detective said last week. "There is
a lot of circumstantial evidence against this individual and we are almost in a position to issue charges."
The development comes as The Telegraph today publishes the first pictures
of Joyce Osagiede, the Nigerian woman police believe could hold the key to the murder of the boy. In a potential blow to British
detectives, however, Ms Osagiede has now disappeared from her family's one-story tin-roofed home in Benin City, where she
had been living since her deportation as a bogus asylum seeker from Britain last November.
Officers traveled to the African country after forensic tests showed he
was from the area around Benin City. All of the people arrested in July were from the same part of Nigeria and police compared
their DNA with Adam's to see if any are related to him. Painstaking forensic tests of Adam's bones, skin, and gut contents
revealed he grew up somewhere in West Africa and his recent diet had included a 'ritual potion.' The 'potion' consisted of
animal bone, quartz, and clay with traces of gold, The dead boy, whose throat had been slit, had lived most of his life in
or near Benin City in Nigeria and was brought to London shortly before his horrific death. Detectives believe he was killed
in some sort of gruesome "black magic" ceremony -- called Muti -- and his torso dumped in the Thames.
Police officers from Operation Maxim, the multi-agency unit tasked with
targeting organized criminals who are in the UK illegally, arrested 21 people in raids across London in July. Nine addresses
in east and southeast London were searched by nearly 200 Metropolitan Police officers, and ten men and eleven women were held
by police. Most of those arrested were for immigration offences, identity fraud and passport forgery. A baby belonging to
one of the women was also taken into care while the woman was being questioned.
Detective Inspector Will O'Reilly, leading the Adam inquiry, said: "We've
uncovered what we believe is a criminal network concentrating on people trafficking. Police also said there was evidence of
other children having been at the raided addresses. "We are convinced that we are on to a group, or individuals, that were
involved in trafficking Adam into the country," O'Reilly said.
They are also trying to trace the witch doctor who brewed a potion containing
bone fragments which the boy swallowed before he died. The fragments have been submitted to New York's medical examiner who
will use techniques developed to identify September 11 victims.
"Interesting substances" found in the raids will also be compared with
the potion found in Adam's intestines. Police think some of the items confiscated could be linked to rituals. Metropolitan
Police Commander Andy Baker said: "Some of the items would raise a few eyebrows -- they look like some element of ritualism
is involved." Among the items found was the skull of an animal which had a nail driven through it.
Police are also looking at their connection with a Nigerian man arrested
in Dublin earlier this month in connection with the investigation. Sam Onogigovie, 37, was held under an extradition warrant
issued by police in Germany, where he has been convicted of crimes linked to human trafficking. Detectives from Scotland Yard
also questioned him about the murder of Adam.
Before being sent back to Nigeria, Joyce Osagiede was interviewed by detectives
and admitted buying an identical pair of orange shorts to the ones found on Adam's torso. They are only available from Woolworth's
in Germany, where she lived for 10 years before making her way to Britain, just a few weeks after the torso was found.
She claimed asylum, telling immigration officers she was fleeing her estranged
husband, Sam Onojhighovie, who she claimed had been responsible for 10 ritual killings over a one-year period and was linked
to a sinister Nigerian cult accused in the past of a voodoo slaying. Onojhighovie is currently in prison in Dublin awaiting
extradition to Germany where he was convicted in his absence of people-trafficking and fraud and sentenced to seven years
Osagiede made the claims to immigration officials before her deportation
from London to Nigeria last year that she and her husband had been setting up branches linked to a Nigerian cult known as
'One Love Family,' and that her husband was responsible for a series of black magic killings of the children of devotees.
She also said that she and other female disciples were forced to undergo ritual circumcision. Her brother has since said that
she told him that she made these claims only as a ruse to win asylum in Britain.
The Metropolitan Police had asked their Nigerian counterparts to keep track
of Osagiede as she remains a key figure in their inquiries. The Telegraph established last week, however, that the Nigerian
police no longer knew her whereabouts. Her brother, Victor Imade Agho, revealed that Ms Osagiede disappeared 18 days ago,
after receiving a threatening visit from a woman from her estranged husband's home region, and believed to be a member of
the same cult.
The cult's "living perfect master," a 55-year-old Nigerian who adopted
the trappings of an Indian holy man and the title Satguru Maharajji after a visit to London in 1980, claims that he was aware
of the allegations from media reports but dismissed them as "negative propaganda" and an attempt to "misrepresent the father
of all creation". He was not sure whether Ms Osagiede or Onijhighovie were among his followers. "In any case," he added, "if
someone reads The Sunday Telegraph and then commits armed robbery, is The Sunday Telegraph responsible for his crime?"
It is not the first time that the cult leader has faced claims that are
at odds with his public calls for world peace. In 2000 he was acquitted of murdering a Ghanaian who had alleged that his sister
was being held by the One Love Family against her will.
Then a Nigerian magazine published the account last year of a former devotee
who claimed that the cult undertook a "blood initiation rite" in which five participants died. "In most cases, when somebody
dies, they cut open his chest, remove the heart, the liver and the kidney," the man was quoted as saying. "They use it to
prepare a concoction and people drink it during the initiations."
The Maharajji, who dismissed such claims as smears, told me that he and
his followers were vegetarians so allegations that they devoured human organs were baseless. "It is natural that I should
face some opposition when I bring the truth," he said. He claimed that Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, Adam, Abraham, and
John the Baptist were among earlier "divine masters" but that he was the first "living perfect master." He also claims that
Nigeria is the "New Holy Land of the Universe" and his ashram at Ibadan, 80 miles north of Lagos, its highest spiritual center.
Agho said his sister had been driven to the point of a mental breakdown
after reports about the case appeared in Nigerian newspapers three weeks ago, featuring the allegations she had made about
her husband. "She kept repeating that she never said those things," said Agho. "She said that she had not seen Sam since he
left her, but she was sure he would never have killed anyone."
Agho proudly displayed the family photo albums containing photographs of
his sister, who is now 32, proudly posing next to a white Mercedes and a white Audi while standing outside a well-maintained
apartment block, an indication that the couple enjoyed a comfortable life in Germany.
Agho said his sister disappeared after a visit from a woman called Mercy
who said that people had telephoned her from London angered by her reported remarks. There were no witnesses to the exchange,
but her relatives said Ms Osagiede spent the following night "weeping and hollering" and she disappeared the next day, apparently
without taking a change of clothes with her. When her brother tried to report her missing to the local Nigerian police, they
told him that she would probably come home soon.
Det. Insp. Will O'Reilly, in charge of the inquiry into Adam's death, thanked
The Telegraph for informing him of her disappearance. He said: "We will investigate her whereabouts and we will contact the
-- Edited and excerpted from the articles by Philip Sherwell in Benin City
and Daniel Foggo for Telegraph UK, by Henry Everingham in SMH August 28, 2003, Telegraph UK August 31, 2003, and BBC NEWS:July 29, 2003
See "" for Ritualism Details
Previous related article in Criminal Minds Archive:
Ritual killings 'pushing double figures'
Investigation into Deaths of Four Children in One Family Over Five Years
August 29, 2003 Victoria, Australia -- At least three authorities were aware almost three years ago that multiple children had died in one family, but the
Department of Human Services failed to respond. Documents show the coroner's office told the department about each death,
asking if any of the children was known to protective services.
"We have checked the coroner's records and found that the form for some
reason is not filled in," a department spokeswoman said. "It must have been some administrative error." They claim that they
weren't told that all the children were from the same family until the fourth child had died.
The children died between December 1998 and April 2003, all
before reaching the age of four. The homicide squad is investigating their deaths. Police said there was no "concrete evidence
of criminal activity" surrounding the deaths, but stated "there is a need to ensure" there is no link between the latest death
and the first three. The children and parents have not been named for legal reasons.
The State Coroner found that the first two deaths were caused by Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); the third by a rare medical condition; and the fourth, which is still being investigated. Coroners
Court records show that after a second child from the family died in 2000, a doctor from Geelong Hospital, a pathologist,
and police each noted it was the family's second loss from sudden infant death syndrome.
After the second child's death at nine weeks in November 2000, a police
report to the coroner said: "Both mother and father present and visibly upset. Second SIDS death to these parents. Baby taken
by ambulance to Geelong Hospital and SIDS care workers notified."
The pathologist's report said the second SIDS death "raised the spectre
of non-accidental" death, but said both could be the result of a cardiac abnormality. "This cannot be diagnosed at post-mortem
but examination of the other siblings in this family, together with parents, would be justified to exclude the possibility."
It is not known whether the examinations were carried out.
After the third death in July last year, a police report to the coroner
said: "(The family) has previously had two children who have died from SIDS-related illness." A pathologist's report also
noted the family had suffered two SIDS deaths.
After the third death in the family last year -- a three-month-old boy
who died from Klebsiella septicaemia -- documents from police and the pathologist again show that authorities were aware of
multiple deaths in the family. The third child died during a supermarket shopping trip. Police told the coroner that the mother
had been shopping with her three children when the infant started to cry. As she returned to the car, the baby stopped breathing,
and despite the mother using CPR, he died.
The homicide squad is investigating links between the deaths. The coroner's
office told the department about each death, asking if any of the children were known to protective services. But the department
said it was not notified the children were from the same family until last April.
That was when the fourth child was found dead in her bedroom. The ambulance
was called to the house the night before after being told she had fallen off the table, but an autopsy was reportedly unable
to establish the cause of her death.
The department acted recently to remove the surviving eldest child, a seven-year-old
boy, from the family home. A Childrens Court magistrate yesterday granted an interim accommodation order for the child to
be extended to September 18.
The family yesterday released a statement, saying its overriding concern
was that their son be left alone during the investigations.
Former Family Court judge John Fogarty yesterday said the Bracks Government
had been repeatedly warned by welfare leaders and recent departmental reports that the system was failing to protect children.
Premier Steve Bracks yesterday asked police Chief Commissioner Christine
Nixon, the coroner, and the Department of Human Services to inquire into the adequacy of the system for reporting child deaths
and make recommendations on improving the child protection system, including reporting of deaths between agencies, by September
25. The inquiry will also examine the department's failure to respond to the coroner's queries about whether one child was
known to child protective services. -- Edited and excerpted from
full articles by Padraic Murphy, Ewin Hannan, and Caroline Milburn at The Age, The Herald Sun, The Bendigo Advertiser, The Age, and the Herald Sun
What Happens When a Child Dies
When a child dies unexpectedly, the first person of authority contacted
by the family is usually a police officer or a doctor, who is obliged to report the death to the coroner. If the pathologist
conducting the autopsy finds that the child has died of natural causes, a death certificate is completed and the matter ends.
But if the pathologist cannot find the cause of death or is suspicious
about the circumstances of it, the coroner holds an inquiry.
The coroner usually investigates cases of suspected sudden infant death
syndrome. If the coroner finds no individual has caused the death, the matter may end, but if the findings imply culpability,
the findings are sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP then decides if criminal charges should be laid.
If a child dies while involved with the state's child protection service,
the Department of Human Services is obliged to investigate the service's handling of the case. The Victorian Child Death Review
Committee in its annual report to Parliament then independently assesses each report. The committee recommends how to improve
the child protection system.
The Age revealed this week that the system's front line - the investigation
of child abuse - was struggling to deal with a record 37,926 notifications of suspected abuse last year. Some of the 32 children
who died last year after being referred to child protection, had their cases closed when they were first reported to authorities,
without further inquiry. -- The Age
Investigation into Deaths of Four Children in One Family Over Five Years
What Happens When a Child Dies
Drug-Addicted Parents Sentenced for Fatal Neglect of Baby
Teacher Charged With Torture of Student, 11
Boy in Nagasaki Murder Case to Undergo Mental Checks
- Arrests in "Adam" Torso Case
- Children Can Sue Over Abuse Claims
- Takuma Sentenced to Death for Killing 8 Schoolchildren
Children Can Sue Over Abuse Claims
July 31, 2003 -- Children who are wrongly diagnosed as suffering from child abuse can sue doctors and social workers, the Court of
Appeal has ruled. However, the judges ruled that the parents of those children have no right to sue.
who say they suffered serious psychological distress when they were falsely accused of abuse brought the case. Both sides
in the case are now hoping to go to the Lords.
As the law stands, doctors and social workers are under an obligation
to report suspected cases of child abuse to the authorities. If they get it wrong though, those accused cannot generally sue
them for the damage caused. But in the landmark case, the three couples wanted to change that.
In each case, the parents
had been suspected of abusing their children. Only later, and in one case after the child was taken into care, were the allegations
found to be groundless. They wanted to be able to sue health care workers for negligence.
In the first case, brought
against East Berkshire Community Health NHS Trust, a mother claimed for the distress she said she suffered as a result of
wrongly being accused of suffering from Munchausen's syndrome by proxy. In the second, brought against Dewsbury Health Care
NHS Trust and Kirklees Metropolitan Council, a father and daughter claimed for psychiatric injury and financial loss resulting
from allegations that the man might have abused his daughter.
The third appeal, brought against Oldham NHS Trust, involved a mother and
father who claimed for psychological distress suffered after wrongful allegations of having inflicted injuries on their daughter.
The allegations had led to them being separated from their child for nearly a year, the judges were told.
"This is a very sensitive area, and our members often face a difficult
dilemma about whether their concerns are founded," said Dr Hugh Stewart, a medico-legal adviser at the MDU. "Our advice is
that, if they have reason to believe that a child may be at risk of harm, they should report those concerns to the relevant
authorities without delay." -- Edited from the full article at
believe it is vital that those falsely labeled abusers should be able to seek compensation. However, some doctors fear any
such move could hinder child protection. The Medical Defense Union, which provides legal cover to doctors, said it was vital
the ruling did not deter doctors from reporting suspected child abuse.
Takuma Sentenced to Death for Killing 8 Schoolchildren
August 29, 2003 OSAKA -- The Osaka District Court on Thursday sentenced Mamoru Takuma, 39, to death for murdering eight children and injuring
13 others and two teachers in a stabbing rampage with a butcher's knife at an Osaka elementary school in June 2001.
Prior to handing down the ruling, Presiding judge Masayuki Kawaai ordered
Takuma to be removed from the courtroom after he demanded to make a final statement. "Let me say something as I'll be sentenced
to death anyway," Takuma said. The judge turned down his demand to speak and ordered him to leave, but Takuma made abusive
remarks to bereaved families who witnessed the trial before being taken from the courtroom.
On June 8, 2001, in Ikeda City, west of Tokyo, Takuma went out and purchased
a long-bladed kitchen knife. Armed with the knife, he walked into an elementary school and proceeded to stab 23 people --
21 of them children. He stabbed 8 children to death -- 7 girls and one boy -- and thirteen other children and two teachers
were also wounded.
Takuma pleaded guilty when his trial opened in December 2001. He has showed
no regret for his actions, saying: "I could have killed more if it had been at a kindergarten."
The judge ruled Thursday that Takuma was mentally fit enough to face punishment
although he had been a psychiatric patient formerly diagnosed with schizophrenia. In mental tests, experts concluded that
Takuma suffers from a personality disorder, but not schizophrenia.
"He has a self-centered, very warped personality. But there is no influence
of any mental illness and he had sufficient mental competency to be held responsible for the crime," the judge said. The judge
said the two psychiatric evaluations that found Takuma to be mentally competent were "highly dependable."
"The defendant was fully aware of the illegality and gravity of his conduct,"
the judge said, describing the crime as "one of the most heinous and grave cases in Japan's criminal history." The judge said
that Takuma carried out the murders as a means to divert his economic and social frustration.
Most of relatives of the killed children were in the court room for the
sentencing. Two mothers, accompanied by a therapist, were allowed to watch the ruling through a television monitor in a separate
room as they said they could not bear being in the room as the killer.
Takuma's lawyers said they would like to appeal against the death sentence
after consulting with their client, but Takuma has reportedly told them that he would withdraw an appeal if they lodged one.
The premeditated attack shocked Japan, triggering calls for tighter security
in schools. The crime led to legislation authorizing the creation of panels of judges and doctors to deal with people with
mental disorders who commit serious crimes. -- Compiled from
wire reports in Japan Today
Teacher Charged With Torture of Student, 11
July 7, 2003 Johannesburg SA -- A Mpumalanga primary school teacher, accused of torturing an "unruly" pupil, goes on trial this week on charges of
attempted murder, abduction, and assault charges.
The teacher, Zandile Nkosi, allegedly called in grown men to help beat
a confession out of the 11-year-old boy she suspected of stealing her handbag. The boy was inexplicably released from a jail
cell by police into the hands of his alleged torturers.
Nkosi's trial in Nelspruit next week has attracted international attention,
with the London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International announcing it will monitor the case as a litmus test for
human and rural rights in South Africa.
The prosecution contends that 42-year-old Nkosi called her husband and
friends to help torture the boy. Nkosi has been charged along with three co-accused, her common-law husband Robert Ngubane,
31, and their two friends, Sam Ntsibande, 29, and Bongani Nkuna, 31. The four are all out on bail in the equivalent of $105
American dollars each.
Two local policemen, Sergeant Clement Magagula and Inspector Bhekifa Daniel
Shobede, were also initially charged as accomplices after they allegedly allowed Nkosi and her co-accused to irregularly remove
the child from a police cell where he was being held for questioning. Charges have been dropped against the police officers
The pupil was repeatedly dunked headfirst into the Crocodile River. Molten
plastic was systematically dripped all over his bare body and genitals. He was also repeatedly burnt with cigarettes. Shocked
nurses who treated him said the boy is so badly injured he may never be able to father a child.
The boy, now 13, has been moved to a new school, but his principal says
the teenager is unusually subdued and even his closest friends say he seldom smiles. The boy has nightmares, wets his bed,
and shies away from strangers.
Mpumalanga's education department hauled Nkosi before an internal disciplinary
committee shortly after the incident. She was found guilty of gross misconduct, dismissed from her job at Tiga Primary School
in the village of Daantjie near Nelspruit, and has been struck from the provincial teachers' roll. She may face a prison term
if found guilty on related criminal charges by the Nelspruit Regional Court next week.
The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU), a major teachers'
union, believes the actions against Nkosi are overly harsh. SADTU's secretary, Shamba Mthembu, insists that since Nkosi is
a mother herself and her own children are now suffering, she should have been allowed to keep her job.
"They should rather have tried to rehabilitate her. Rural teachers are
under siege, working under incredible stress from unruly or undisciplined pupils, without any real institutional or psychological
support from education authorities," said Mthembu.
"While we can't condone torture or violence against pupils, it is inevitable
that teachers will eventually snap in this kind of environment," Mthembu said. "This incident is a symptom of a wider problem
that will not go away until the authorities start addressing discipline in schools. There is a fire, and unless some one puts
it out, it will consume the education system."
The Council for Educators, a professional body governing teachers, disagrees.
Council director, Muavia Gallie, insisted there was no excuse for physically harming a child.
"There simply are absolutely no circumstances that excuse the abuse of
learners. Teachers are adults, and in addition are guardians of children. Even if teachers feel unsupported by their employer,
they can always appeal to their union, their school governing bodies, or even the community for help," said Gallie. "This
kind of unprofessional [vigilantism] turns teachers into both the judge and jury -- a very dangerous situation."
Teachers are, however, increasingly resorting to the use of corporal punishment,
which is banned, to keep their pupils obedient. The council's records indicate that 12 teachers have been found guilty of
physical assault on pupils since 1999, while provincial government records indicate at least 10 rural Mpumalanga teachers
have been dismissed in the past five years for beating misbehaving pupils.
More shocking perhaps is the conviction of 93 teachers for sexual misconduct
with pupils since 1999.
All of the teachers involved in these incidents have been scrapped from
the national teachers' roll, effectively preventing them from ever teaching again anywhere within the Commonwealth. Mpumalanga
Education MEC, Craig Padayachee, has warned that even more severe action will be taken against any future offenders.
"Such unprofessional practices warrant drastic steps against the perpetrators.
Corporal punishment is illegal, and there are clear guidelines on how to deal with misconduct by pupils. There is no excuse,"
Padayachee said. -- Edited and excerpted from the article by Zenzele Kuhlase in News24
Drug-Addicted Parents Sentenced for Fatal Neglect of Baby
August 13, 2003 NAGASAKI -- The Nagasaki District Court on Wednesday sentenced a drug-addicted couple to four and half years in prison each for
neglecting their 3-month-old son and causing his death from malnutrition last December. Takashi Kumagae, 42, self-employed,
and his wife Megumi, 34, neglected feeding the baby, partly because they were addicted to amphetamines, Presiding Judge Keizo
Yamamoto said. They bought the drugs with money the woman earned through prostitution, the judge said. The baby, Takahiro,
was born Sept 10 and died from pneumonia Dec 11 after being left unfed. -- Kyodo News in Japan Today
|Criminal Minds Forum at Yahoo! Groups