By Landing Ceesay
Demba Bah, a receptionist at the Friendship Hostel, appearing before Justice Sidi K. Jobarteh as the Fourth Prosecution Witness (PW4) in the murder trial of Kumba Sinyan (the accused) testified that the defendant told him that “she killed Lama” (the deceased).
Kumba Sinyan is charged with murder contrary to section 187 of Criminal Code Cap: 10:01 Revised Laws of the Gambia 2009.
Prosecutors alleged that the suspect on or about the 14th of September 2022 at The Friendship Hostel in Bakau, with malice aforethought, caused the death of one Lamarana Jallow by cutting his stomach with an object and thereby committed an offense punishable with death under section 188 of the Criminal Code Cap of the Laws of the Gambia 2009.
The witness told the Court that he has been working at the Friendship Hostel as a receptionist for five years and came to know Kumba Sinyan (the accused) through a friend within the last two years.
The witness testified that as a receptionist, his job is to take bookings for rooms and check in customers when they arrived at the hostel. He further informed the court that he can vividly recall what happened at the hostel on September 13th, 2022.
“The incident was that someone was killed at the hostel on that day. I work as a receptionist on the night shift on the 13th of September. When I came to work and sign in, I went to my colleague, Ensa Touray (PW3), who was supposed to sign out. He informed me that we have guests in rooms 111 and 303. When Ensa (PW3) handed over everything to me, I went to drop my bag at the office and he (Ensa) went home.
“While sitting outside observing the situation of the Hostel, I saw one lady come out wearing a face mask, a cap, and a black shirt with long sleeves. She came out from the door of the main reception. When she went out, I went to do the normal procedure to go and check whether she did not leave the phone there or left anything behind. When I went there, I found the door was locked, and I ran after her through the main gate because she was supposed to give me the keys. But I did not see her around the gate,” the witness told the Court.
The witness further testified that he met some boys outside the Hostel gate, who told him that they met a lady on the street. Upon hearing that, the witness testified that he ran into the office, and then drove his car to find her.
“I Drove my car to chase her, and I saw a lady walking on the roadside. When I drove close to her, I found that she removed her mask and threw it away. That’s the time I found out that she is Kumba Sinyan (the accused). I asked her what happened, and she told me that she did something, and I asked her what did you do? She told me that she killed Lama (the deceased),” the witness told the court.
The witness said he then screamed and shouted at her, and told her to go with him to the hostel so that they can take Lama (the deceased) to the hospital.
He said Kumba Sinyan (the accused) told him that she cannot go back to the Hostel because Lama is already dead.
The witness told the Court that Kumba Sinyan (the accused) pleaded with him not to tell anyone about it.
The witness said that’s the time he went back to the Hostel security and inform them that something has happened at the Hostel. He also placed an urgent call to Ensa (PW3) and asked him to come to the hostel.
The witness said Ensa arrived at the Hostel in less than five minutes, and he informed him that something happened in room 111.
“When Ensa came, we went to the Office and later came out of the office and I told him that, we have to call the police. But before going to the Police, since the door of room 111 was locked. We went through the window of room 111 to see whether what Kumba (the accused) said is true. When we check through the window, inside the room was not clear to us. But we were able to see some blood stains on the walls and the bed. We also saw a human head on the floor. So, we went to the police station to report the matter.” the witness said.
The witness said they were escorted by one police officer to the Hostel and upon arrival, they check for the duplicate key to room 111.
The witness said his colleague (Ensa) went in to collect the duplicate key, and they open the door together with the Police Officer and checked on the body of Lama. The Police Officer told them that Lama is dead and they both left the room while the police make some calls.
The witness told the court that the Police Officer informed them that he was calling their Task Force team to come to the scene.
“When they (Task Force) came in, they checked our register book to know what time the accused and the deceased lodged at the Hostel. I told them that I am not the one who lodge them. They (Task Force) asked me whether I know the person who was in room 111. I told them that the person is Kumba Sinyan (the accused). They asked me where she lives, and I told them where she lives. All I know is that the incident that happened at the Hostel was done by Kumba Sinyan (the accused),” the witness told the Court.
The case was adjourned to the 12th of January 2023 for the continuation of the hearing.