An Accra Magistrate Court has granted GH₵100,000 bail with two sureties to the alleged murderers of Ms Julie Diane Williams, an American Strip Dancer.
One of the sureties is to be justified. The case has been adjourned to January 25, 2022.
The accused persons are; Bright Udiagbe alias Big Slim, a Businessman, Susan Azor, a trader, Gideon Kwaofio, a Receptionist, George Ntsor, a Gardener, and Odoi Laryea, a Security guard.
The Court presided over by Justice Stephen Tabiri granted the accused persons bail, saying the facts did not support the charges.
Prosecutor Police Chief Inspector Lawrence Anane initially prayed the Court to refuse them bail.
He said the prosecution is still investigating and might gather more facts as time goes on, hence the accused persons would interfere with the investigation.
Lawyers for the accused persons argued that the facts did not support the charges against them and the facts showed that they are not linked to the crime at all.
They urged the Court to exercise its discretion and grant the accused persons bail as they would stand trial at any point in time.
Mr. Robertson Kpatsa, Lawyer for Bright and Susan, told the Court that one of his clients paid for the autopsy report and other reports being done by the Police.
He also said the accused also paid the hotel bills for the days the deceased stayed in the hotel.
Chief Inspector Anane told the Court that the deceased was a 37-year-old American Strip Dancer.
He said Bright, aged 47, is a businessman in the hospitality and entertainment industry.
The prosecution said the accused owned a hotel, restaurants, and nightclubs in Nigeria and Ghana, while Susan, aged 32 is a trader and an employee of Bright.
He said Gideon, aged 31, is a Cook and Receptionist of the hotel, George, aged 35, is a Gardener with Odoi as a Security guard.
Chief Inspector Anane said the deceased and Bright had been in a working relationship for the past five years.
He said in December 2017, the deceased and two other American ladies by names: Sky and Diana, all Strip Dancers, were introduced to Bright in Lagos-Nigeria by a friend known as Williams, alias DAPO, who requested Bright to employ them at his Firefox night club in Lagos.
The Prosecution said that same year, the three Strip Dancers, including the deceased, worked for Bright for four weeks on a commission basis at his Firefox nightclub in Lagos, Nigeria but after the Christmas festivities, they went back to the United States of America.
He said in December, 2018, Bright again invited the deceased to Lagos to work for him and after the festivities, she went back to the United States of America.
According to the Prosecution, in 2019 and 2020, because of the Covid-19 restrictions, the deceased was not invited by Bright as usual, but rather invited the deceased in November, 2021 to Nigeria to work for him.
The deceased arrived in Nigeria on November 26, 2021, at the time Bright was in Ghana making efforts to officially open Tunnel Lounge restaurant and Firefox Night Club in Accra.
He said the deceased after working in Bright’s nightclub in Nigeria for about a week, was invited to Ghana by Bright to help him to open his new lounge and restaurant in Ghana.
On December 3, 2021, the deceased arrived in Ghana with a single-entry Nigerian visa. She tested positive for COVID-19 at the Kotoka International Airport and was taken into isolation at Ave Maria hotel located at South Legon.
On December 6, 2021, the deceased tested negative for Covid-19 and was picked up from the Isolation Centre by Bright.
He said on the same day, Bright gave money to Susan to book a hotel for the deceased. Thus she took the deceased to RAYPORSH hotel in Accra located in the same vicinity she lived.
The Prosecution said the deceased lodged in the hotel for a week and checked out on December 12, 2021, at 12 noon to travel back to Nigeria but could not do so because of visa issues.
He said the deceased returned to the hotel around 2:00pm the same day and checked into the same room and on December 13, 2021. Gideon claimed the deceased was not served breakfast because she did not respond to the telephone calls made to her room.
Chief Inspector Anane said throughout that day, nobody checked on the deceased although it was known that she had not gone out of her room.
On December 14, 2021, at about 7:30am, the staff of the hotel in an attempt to serve the deceased breakfast, called the phone in her room several times but there was no response.
The Management checked on the door and found it unlocked, they entered the room and found the deceased unresponsive on the bed and reported it to the Police.
He said a team of Investigators rushed to the hotel and took the deceased to the Police hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival by the medical staff on duty.
The body was deposited at the Police Hospital Morgue for preservation and autopsy.
On December 29, C/Supt. /Dr. Osei Owusu Afriyie, the Police Pathologist conducted post mortem examination on the body of the deceased and indicated that the cause of death was unnatural but awaiting toxicology and Histopathology examinations to indicate the actual cause of death.
He said based on the verbal post mortem report by the Pathologist, the five suspects, who were highly suspected to have a hand in the murder of the strip dancer were arrested. Investigations are still ongoing.