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Man accused of raping young Nigerians before trafficking them to work as prostitutes claims he escorted woman on flight because she was a nervous flyer


A former security guard accused of raping young Nigerians before trafficking them to work as prostitutes in Europe told a court today that he escorted a woman on a flight to Italy because she was nervous of flying alone.

Osezua Osolase, 42, told Canterbury Crown Court that he was subsequently paid hundreds of pounds for escorting other young women to European countries including Italy and Spain after he lost his job and needed to pay for cancer treatment for his mother.

The prosecution claims that Mr Osolase, of Northfleet, Kent, recruited and raped impoverished young Nigerian orphans and forced them to undergo West African “juju” rituals in which their blood was removed to cast a spell over them and ensure their obedience.

He is accused of raping teenagers before selling them for up tens of thousands of pounds to work in the vice trade and travelling to Europe to hand them over. He denies 13 charges including rape, sexual assault, and trafficking three girls aged 14, 16, and 17 to Europe.

Mr Osolase told the court that he was heading to Italy on a shopping trip to buy clothes to resell in Britain when a contact bought him his airline ticket to escort a woman to Italy. “As I understand it, she was nervous and wouldn’t want to travel alone to Italy and Milan,” he told Canterbury Crown Court. He said that the woman was happy to travel.

The court was told after that trip that he was paid up to about £1,700 to travel with other women to the continent. He was passed the information of travellers by a contact in Nigeria called Anthony.

He told the court that he paid up to £400 pounds to “rent” a stolen passport from someone he found after making inquiries at an African restaurant. “I knew what I was doing was wrong,” said Mr Osolase. “I didn’t know the severity.”

The court heard that Osolase first moved to Britain in 2007 but was removed by the UK Border Agency after he was cautioned over “false representation” with a credit card. He married a German woman later that year in Lagos, which allowed him to obtain a visa to return to Britain in 2008 and he found work as a security guard. He also had a Nigerian partner with whom he had a child, the court heard.

The case continues