Pastor Killer Arrested
The body of the 75-year-old British-American evangelist, Reverend Sidney Thomas Barnes, who was reported missing since March 18, 2010, has been exhumed from a well on his farm at Akwamu Amanfo near Nsawam Adoagyiri in the Eastern region. The exhumation was carried out by a team of investigators from the Police Headquarters and pathologists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. His 32-year-old driver, Kofi Seidu, who led the team to the unmarked grave of the deceased, has since been kept in police custody over the murder. The suspect was assigned by the business partner of the pastor, Rev. Padmore Goodwill, to pick up his boss who was due to arrive in the country after a trip to the UK and the Americas on March 18, 2010. Seidu however returned to Koforidua, the Eastern regional capital, without the evangelist, whom he claimed failed to arrive in the country. After almost a month’s fruitless search for the missionary, Seidu and Rev. Padmore reported the matter to the Police Headquarters and lodged a complaint with the Interpol Unit which began investigations into the mysterious ‘disappearance’. The Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), DCOP Prosper Agblor said investigations showed that Rev. Barnes, who was the proprietor of Prestige Secretarial and Computer School at Koforidua and the owner of Mana Mission Farms at Akwamu-Amanfo near Nsawam Adoagyiri, did arrive in the country as scheduled at about 10:03pm and was picked up by Seidu. The driver allegedly murdered him at Adawso on their way to Koforidua. DCOP Agblor revealed that Seidu then purportedly put the body in an airtight bag belonging to the deceased and buried it in a well on the farm of the deceased where Seidu was employed as the farm manager. The police boss said the body was well preserved due to the fact that though there was water in the well, Seidu filled it with sand, making the grave cold enough to preserve the remains. The Director-General further indicated that checks made in the USA so far revealed that Rev. Barnes was given a ride to Los Angeles Airport (LAX) by his friend Chuck Burney on March 15, 2010 and left America to London with British Airways with an e-ticket number 1257465295192, which he bought through Travel Leaders. He arrived in London and checked into Comfort Hotel at Heathrow and left London on March 17, on British Airways using the same e-ticket. “Our investigations disclosed that Rev Barnes did in fact arrive at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on March 18, 2010 at 22:03 hours via British Airways,” said DCOP Agblor. Seidu was arrested on September 26 at Koforidua but he denied having seen Rev. Barnes on March 18. Upon further questioning, Seidu was said to have broken down on October 4 and confessed to brutally killing his boss and burying the body on his farm. Seidu, after the gory act, sold Rev. Barnes’ Land Rover vehicle with registration number WR 418 P to someone who was yet to be identified at Sefwi in the Western Region. He also attempted to sell the deceased’s laptop computer to a friend of his on March 19, 2010. When the said friend booted the computer, he saw Rev Barnes’ name boldly written on the laptop as well as his picture. Seidu also pleaded with his friend to change a $100 note into cedis for him. His friend however declined both requests. Seidu, who is a primary six school drop-out and a father of two children, was introduced to the deceased by one pastor Johnson in Koforidua somewhere in 1997 at Koforidua. The two pastors were then running a church called Cross Road Christian Mission Incorporated and promised Seidu a driving job. However, because the church then did not have a bus, he worked as an errand boy until 2000 when the church acquired one, of which he became the driver. Pastor Johnson and the deceased later that same year parted ways due to some misunderstanding. The deceased rented a new place to continue with his church activities and recruited Rev. Padmore Goodwill, with whom he founded the Mana House Mission. The two later established the Prestige Secretarial and Computer School at Koforidua. They also had a farm where they mainly cultivated pawpaw and pineapples. Suspect Seidu became the farm manager when the church bus broke down. Rev. Sidney Thomas Barnes, until his gruesome murder, was a member of the Calvary Chapel, USA. He left Ghana on December 27, 2009 to return on March 18, 2010 but was never seen again until his body was exhumed last Monday October 11, 2010. His remains, after an autopsy was performed on it yesterday, would be sent to the USA where he would be laid to rest. Suspect Kofi Seidu would appear before court on October 28, 2010. The police said they were on the heels of other culprits who might have assisted the suspect in committing the crime. Meanwhile, the CID boss has disclosed that an informant who contacted the police, after a media publication of the possible murder of the deceased, would be awarded an amount of £1500 for his effort. DCOP Agblor was also grateful for the support of the media and called for more cooperation with the police.
Source: Daily Guide - Ghana