Alleged organ harvesting plot victim pleaded for ‘someone to save my life’
A Nigerian street trader allegedly trafficked into the UK for organ harvesting walked into a police station and said he was “looking for someone to save my life”, a court has heard.
The 21-year-old, from Lagos, had been sleeping rough for three nights before he turned up at Staines Police Station in May last year pleading for help, the Old Bailey was told.
The young man is alleged to be the victim of a plot to harvest his kidney for a transplant procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in north London.
Jurors have seen a photograph of him smiling and sharing a meal with the alleged recipient, Sonia Ekweremadu, the 25-year-old daughter of senior Nigerian politician Ike Ekweremadu.
It is claimed that he was coached before meeting doctors in London, and told to say that he was Ms Ekerewadu’s cousin when they were in fact not related.
The Old Bailey has heard that the proposed donor, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, ran away after doctors decided he was not a suitable candidate.
In body-worn footage shown in court on Tuesday, he appeared to be crying and distressed when he walked into the police station and spoke to a woman on reception.
He told the woman repeatedly he had “no papers”, having been brought into the country by a man he met in Lagos.
He said: “He carried me to hospital to remove my kidneys. The doctor said I was too young but the man said if you do not do it here he would carry me back to Nigeria and do it there.”
On being told he was in Staines, he said: “I don’t know anywhere, I don’t know where I am. I was sleeping three days outside around, looking for someone to help me, save my life.”
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, Sonia, 25, and medical “middleman” Obinna Obeta, 50, are charged with conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation.
Previously, the court has heard that he came from a village in Nigeria and was allegedly recruited by Dr Obeta while selling phone accessories from a wheelbarrow in Lagos.
Giving evidence, he told jurors that he thought he was being brought to the UK to work and only found out it was for a kidney transplant when he visited the Royal Free Hospital.
The young man was “shocked”, felt like crying, and told jurors: “Nobody told me about kidney transplant.”
In a video-taped interview, he told police he was treated like a “slave” at the house in London where he was staying.
He claimed he was told he had to go ahead with the operation in exchange for 1.2 million naira (around £2,000).
He said: “I was afraid because I don’t know what they are going to do to me.”
He initially set off on foot from London not knowing where he was going and asked any black people he saw for help.
Even though he was given money, he had nowhere to stay so decided to ask for directions to a police station, the court was told.
The Ekweremadus, who have an address in Willesden Green, north-west London, and Obeta, from Southwark, south London, deny the charge against them and the Old Bailey trial continues.