Three men have each been sentenced to 73 years in prison for raping and robbing four British schoolgirls and their teacher at gunpoint during a trip to Ghana.
The case, which was deliberately shrouded in secrecy to prevent the British children from being identified, ended on Thursday with a statement even forbidding the naming of the British police involved in the event that it led to the identification of the victims.
The rapes and robberies took place shortly after the British schoolchildren and their teachers arrived on the overseas trip to Ghana. They were in their accommodation when the gang of rapists armed with guns burst into the building.
Local media reported that the school group consisted of six male students, four female students and two teachers – a man and a woman.
The three attackers were named as Ghanaian national Ishmael Akyene, 34, Nigerian national Daniel Akpan, 29, and Nigerian national Edem Asuquo, 33.
A school trip to Ghana, during which some girls were raped, boys held at gunpoint and their belongings stolen, resulted in three Ghanaians each serving 73 years in prison. The three men pleaded guilty in Accra (photo, file photo)
They all admitted 32 violations, the Ghanaian police said in a statement. The charges include conspiracy, robbery, rape and illegal possession of firearms.
In the post-conviction statement in Ghana, police said: “Three men have been found guilty and sentenced following an investigation by the police in Ghana, which was supported by a British police force.
All three men have been sentenced to 73 years in prison each. 23 years for gun crimes, 25 years for robberies and 23 years for rape. All men will serve their sentences at the same time,” the statement said. This means that the men will serve the highest of the three sentences, namely 25 years.
All three men pleaded guilty at a court hearing in Accra, Ghana, police said.
The convictions are related to an incident that took place in December 2018 in which a group of students and teachers from a British school traveled to Ghana. The school or area they came from cannot be named for legal reasons.
Shortly after arrival, a number of armed men forced their way into the accommodation where the group was staying. The group was held at gunpoint and the female victims were severely sexually assaulted,” police said.
Ghana web also reported that one of the teachers had also been raped.
The prosecution said the men were in the guesthouse for about three hours, during which time they attacked the British nationals and stole their belongings. The gang left the premises around 4 a.m. with the stolen items.
The male victims were beaten and held at gunpoint. Their belongings were also stolen from them before the perpetrators left the premises, the police said.
The court ordered the guilty men to serve their sentences in hard labor. A vehicle was also seized from them, as well as other belongings used in the attack.
The case, which was deliberately shrouded in secrecy to prevent the British children from being identified, ended on Thursday with a statement even forbidding the naming of the British police involved in the event that it led to the identification of the victims. Pictured: Accra (file)
The vehicle was used to track down two of the men as police were able to track down a stolen debit card and link it to two men exiting the green Kia Rio.
Prosecutors said the men had informed the victims of their bank account PINs and passwords on one of their phones.
The police first arrested one suspect, who led them to the second. The arrested pair then led police to the home of the third, who managed to escape through the roof of his house and fled to Nigeria. He was later extradited from Nigeria to face trial.
The victims are still supported by specially trained police officers and other agencies. Ghana Web reported that items and stolen money were returned.