A businessman and a hotel owner, Bright Udiagbe, and four (4) other employees have been dragged before a Kaneshie Magistrate Court for their alleged involvement in the mysterious death of American Instagram model, Julie Diane Williams, popularly known as Tyger Booty.
A post mortem examination on the body of the late strip dancer indicates that she died of unnatural causes although the police are awaiting toxicology and histopathology examinations to confirm the actual cause of death.
The accused persons are on a provisional charge of conspiracy and murder. According to court documents, they were in direct contact with the deceased at some point between December 6, 2021 when she left a COVID-19 isolation centre till her demise on December 14, 2021.
Court documents say Tyger Booty was invited into the country by Udiagbe to help him open a new lounge and a restaurant in Accra.
The rest of the accused, who are all employees of RAYPORSH Hotel located at Abelemkpe in Accra, are Susan Azor, 32, a trader; Gideon Kwaofio, 31, a cook and receptionist; George Ntsor, 35, a gardener and Odoi Laryea, a security guard.
Their pleas have been reserved by the court.
The court, presided over by His Worship Stephen Tabiri, has granted bail to the five in the sum of GH¢100,000 each, with two sureties each, one of whom must be justified.
The accused persons, represented by Robertson Kpatsa and Gregory Asiedu, had separately argued that the facts do not support the charges and urged the court to exercise its discretion and grant the accused persons bail.
The applications were opposed by the prosecution led by Chief Inspector Lawrence Anane, who argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case hence cannot grant the accused persons bail.
He added that investigations were ongoing and the accused persons would interfere with investigations if granted bail.
His Worship Tabiri granted the bail applications on grounds that the facts do not support the charges and adjourned the matter to January 25, 2022.
The brief facts of the case indicate that Bright Udiagbe aka Big Slim, who is a businessman in the hospitality and entertainment industries, has had a working relationship with the late Tyger Booty for the past five years.
According the documents presented by Chief Inspector Anane, in December 2017, the deceased and two other American ladies named Sky and Diana, all strip dancers, were introduced to Udiagbe in Lagos, Nigeria, by a friend known as Williams alias Dapo, who requested Udiagbe to employ them at his Firefox night club in Lagos.
The facts say the three strip dancers, including the deceased, worked for Udiagbe for four weeks on a commission basis at his Firefox nightclub in Lagos, but after the Christmas festivities, they went back to the United States of America.
The deceased also worked at the same nightclub in 2018 but could not travel to Nigeria in 2019 and 2020 as usual due to COVID-19 restrictions.
She was, however, invited to Nigeria in 2021, by Udiagbe and she arrived in the country on November 26, 2021, although Udiagbe was in Ghana making efforts to officially open Tunnel Lounge Restaurant and Firefox Night Club in Accra.
“The deceased, after working in Udiagbe’s night club in Nigeria for about a week, was invited to Ghana by A1 (Udiagbe) to help him open his new lounge and restaurant in Ghana,” the facts say.
The documents say Tyger Booty arrived in Ghana on December 3, 2021 but tested positive for COVID-19 and was therefore kept in isolation until December 6, when she tested negative for COVID-19 and was picked from the isolation centre by Udiagbe.
“On the same day, A1 gave money to A2 (Susan Azor) to book a hotel for the deceased. A2 therefore took the deceased to RAYPORSH Hotel in Accra located in the same vicinity she lives. The deceased lodged in room 101 for a week and checked out from the hotel on 12/12/2021 at 12 noon to travel back to Nigeria but could not travel because of visa issues,” the facts say.
Court documents indicate that Tyger Booty returned to the hotel around 2:00pm same day and checked into the same room 101.
On December 13, 2021, Gideon Kwaofio claimed the deceased was not served breakfast because she did not respond to the telephone calls made to her room, and “throughout that day, nobody checked on the deceased although it was known that she had not gone out of her room.”
The facts said on December 14, 2021, at about 7:30 am, the staff of the hotel, in an attempt to serve the deceased breakfast, called the room phone several times but there was no response.
The management of the hotel therefore checked on the door and found it unlocked but upon entering the room, they found the deceased unresponsive on the bed and reported to the matter to the police.
The deceased was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival. Her body was deposited at the police hospital morgue for preservation and autopsy.
A post mortem examination performed by C/Supt. /Dr. Osei Owusu Afriyie, a Police Pathologist, indicated that she died of unnatural causes but the police are awaiting toxicology and histopathology examinations to give the actual cause of death.