13 January 2016

Ghana: UK Murder Suspect Remanded By BNI

The Kaneshie Magistrate Court has remanded into custody of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) the suspected murderer who allegedly killed his girlfriend, an ex actress and her two children in the United Kingdom (UK).appear on January 26, 2016 at 11: am.

Simpson-Kent, who was arrested by the Ghana Police Homicide Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) from his hideout at Busua in the Western Region was charged with three counts of murder.

He is said to have left the United Kingdom by coach to Glasgow, through Amsterdam then to Ghana, after he allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Sian Blake, aged 43, who was a former East Enders actress and her two sons, Zachary Kent Blake and Amon Kent Blake, aged eight and four years respectively.

What happened in Court

Simpson-Kent arrived on the premises of the Kaneshie Magistrate Court, which was already packed to capacity with local and foreign journalists at about 9:39 am.

The cameras were capturing every moment of the accused person's movement, to the extent that the foreign journalists tried to take snapshots in the court room.

Although it was announced that no cameras were allowed, it fell on deaf ears, until the Magistrate herself, Rosemond Dodua Agyiri, ordered all cameras to stop taking shots else she would confiscate them.

It appeared the Police could not do much about the foreign photo journalists, like they do to their Ghanaian counterparts.

Hearing commenced at about 9:45 when Simpson-Kent was called into the dock for his charges to be read to him.

The 48 year old suspected murderer was dressed in a grey round neck shirt. He had a very calm demeanour and hardly spoke.

When asked by the presiding magistrate whether or not he was being treated well in the BNI custody, he responded with a nod, until he was asked to open his mouth and talk.

Legal Exchange

According to the Principal State Attorney, Rebecca Adjalo, Mr. Simpson Kent was arrested upon a tip off from the UK Interpol which showed that the accused person had arrived in Ghana after fleeing from the UK, as a result of allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Sian Blake and her two children.

He was, however, arrested at Busua on the 9th of January, after a short communication with the Interpol and Met Police.

She, therefore, prayed the court to give them ample time by remanding Mr. Simpson Kent into custody with the maximum adjournment stipulated period to enable both the Ghanaian and British Police to continue the investigation.

Adding that, the Met team is already in Ghana to collaborate with their Ghanaian counterparts to expedite the investigations.

On his part, counsel for the accused, Justice Srem-Sai registered his displeasure over the behavior of the Attorney General and the state security apparatus and how his client has been treated since he was apprehended.

According to him, he has been denied access to his client since January 9 when he was arrested, something he described as violation of his human rights.

He said, "this is the first time my client is allowed to see other people, apart from those who are after him", adding he has been shuttling between the BNI and CID since Friday without being able to see Simpson-Kent.

Justice Srem-Sai again argued that security agencies have breached his client's human rights and the extradition Act 1960 by denying him the right to counsel and also writing to the Ministry of Interior to enable the UK Police to secure an arrest warrant from a local court before it was affected.

Justice Srem-Sai, who described the arrest of his client as violation of the extradition Act 1960, prayed the court go on recess to enable him have some time with his client, since all attempts to talk to him proved fruitless.

The court denied his pray for his client to be discharged but ordered that the Counsel should be granted access to his client by the BNI at all visiting hours.

The Principal State Attorney also told the court that, events surrounding the tipoff and arrest of the suspect unfolded very fast from the time the British authorities alerted them about the presence of Simpson-Kent in the country, which made it difficult to follow due process at that material time.

She, however, assured the court that there was no violation of the law since everything has been done according to law and further opposed the Counsel's prayer to the Court to discharge the accused person.

The Court, however, declined to take the plea of the suspected murderer, Simpson-Ken and went ahead to adjourn the case to January 26, 2016.

Facts

Briefing the court on the fact of the case, Mrs. Adjalo said the accused person is unemployed, while Sian Blake, 43, was his girlfriend.

The couple, had two children namely; Zachary Kent Blake - eight and Amon Kent Blake - four, and resided at Erith in East London with their children.

On January 7, 2016, Interpol Accra received a request from Interpol Manchester, annexed with an arrest warrant issued by the Westminster Magistrate Court against the accused for allegedly murdering his girlfriend and their two children.

She said Sian Blake was last seen alive on December 13, 2015 in Waltham Forest, East London with her two sons.

On December 16, 2015, an aunt of Sian Blake lodged a complaint with the local police about the disappearance of Sian and her two children.

The Principal State Attorney told the court that the police officers visited the couple's apartment in Erith on the same day and spoke to Simpson-Kent.

However, the accused, on seeing the police officers, was uncooperative and dismissive, telling the officers that Sian Blake and their children had travelled to visit a friend in Cambridge and that he had not seen them.

On January 3, 2016, Sian Blake's car was found parked in Bethnal, Green East London with the inside splattered with blood, the Principal State Attorney narrated.

Sian Blake and Children buried

Mrs. Adjalo stated that when Sian Blake and her children were not being found after several days of search, the police officers visited the apartment again at Erith on January 5, 2016 but the accused had vacated the premises.

"After a thorough search at the premises, the officers found the bodies of Sian Blake and the two children buried in a shallow grave in a garden behind the apartment.

"Intelligence revealed that Simpson-Kent had fled London to Ghana on December 19, 2016. While escaping from the UK, he travelled by coach to Glasgow in Scotland, from where he flew to Ghana via Amsterdam," she said.

The prosecutor added that on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, the accused entered December 7, 2015 on his disembarkation form as the date on which he arrived in Ghana.

"Following the request from our British counterparts, the CID constituted a team to hunt for the accused and on January 8, 2016, the team moved to Busua and Butre towns where he was believed to be hiding. "After an intensive search for the accused, he was arrested from a thicket near Butre, near Busua on January 9, 2016," the Principal State Attorney stated.

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