Date: 21 Sep 2001
Place: River Thames, London
The torso of Patrick Erhabor was found dead in the River Thames on 21 September 2001 near Tower Bridge and the Globe Theatre.
At the time he was unidentified and known only as 'Adam', but in early February 2013 he was identified by a woman in Nigeria as Patrick Erhabor. She said that she used to look after him in Germany before he was brought illegally into the United Kingdom. She had been living in Glasgow in 2002.
Police said that they thought that he had been murdered during a ritual sacrifice and that he had been drugged beforehand with a black magic potion. It was found that his body had contained traces of Calabar bean which would have left him paralysed but conscious when his throat was cut.
It was suggested that the murder was similar to the muti sacrifices carried out in the sub-Saharan African region where it was thought that the body parts of children were sacred.
His head, arms and legs had all been expertly cut off.
His post mortem stated that he had been drugged and had then had his throat slit and his blood drained after which his head and limbs were expertly cut off.
The only clothes he had on were a pair of orange shorts which were determined to be sold exclusively in Woolworths in Germany and Austria.
Forensic analysis that used techniques to analyse radioactive isotopes showed that Patrick Erhabor was from the Benin City area of Nigeria which was noted as being the birthplace of voodoo.
The woman that had identified Patrick Erhabor had been in Glasgow in 2002 and the police had questioned her but there was no evidence against her and because of her mental state she was deported back to Nigeria. When she was arrested, the police found clothing in the Glasgow flat that was similar to the clothing worn by Patrick Erhabor.
The woman said that she had been looking after him in Germany but had handed him over to a man who had then taken him to the United Kingdom.
It was thought that Patrick Erhabor was murdered a few days after arriving in the United Kingdom.
A woman that had initially been questioned later spoke to reporters in 2011 when she said that she had given Patrick Erhabor to a man in Hamburg who she incorrectly named and showed reporters a photo and gave Patrick Erhabor a false name. At the time she said little else about the case but in 2013 she decided to reveal everything that she knew, and reporters flew out to Benin City in Nigeria to interview her. She then revealed Patrick Erhabor's true name and said that the previous photo she had shown in 2011 was not Patrick Erhabor, but that of another friend's child. When she was asked who have killed Patrick Erhabor she said a 'group of people'. She said, 'They used him for a ritual in the water.'.
At the 2011 interview she had named a man that she had given the child to by way of a nickname but in 2013 she revealed his full name. The man was later identified as a bogus asylum seeker who had come to London in 1997. However, when he was questioned over the murder he said that he knew nothing. The man had been arrested in 2002 at which time the police had found a plastic bag, a mixture of bone, sand and flecks of gold very similar to a sample found in Patrick Erhabor's stomach, at the man’s house.
Police also found a video in his house titled 'Rituals' which contained a B-movie in which a man cuts off another man’s head.
However, the man said that the items had belonged to other people in the house and the police said that they were unable to establish a link between him and the items.
The man was convicted for people smuggling in 2004 and sentenced to four and a half years and whilst in prison he contacted the police saying that he wanted to help with the investigation, but it was determined that he was wasting police time and he was later deported back to Nigeria.
Whilst the police said that the information that the woman gave in 2013 was a development and connected the Nigerian man previously questioned with the crime, the police said that she had proven to have been unreliable in the past and said that she had psychiatric problems. It was noted that in 2013 she was taking medication. She had earlier given a photo to the police who she said was a picture of Patrick Erhabor but it was later proved not to be him.
Investigators also went to Hamburg in Germany where the woman had lived and spoke to some people that remembered her and the child.
Another Nigerian suspect was arrested in 2003 in Dublin, but no charges were made.