Three face provisional trial with links to alleged organ-harvesting plot
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
A wealthy Brent couple and a south London man face a provisional trial next spring on charges linked to an alleged organ-harvesting plot.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, a district senator and lawyer, and his wife, Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55, are accused of bringing a 21-year-old man from Nigeria to the UK.
Prosecutors claim they planned to have his kidney removed so it could be given to their daughter.
The man is said to have refused to consent to the procedure after undergoing tests at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
The Ekweremadus, from Willesden Green, allegedly treated him as a slave before he escaped and went to Staines police station in Surrey.
The couple were arrested at Heathrow Airport on June 21 after arriving on a flight from Turkey.
Ike Ekweremadu and a third defendant, Obinna Obeta, are charged with conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of a man with a view to him being exploited.
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Mrs Ekweremadu and Obeta, 50, from Southwark, south London, are charged with arranging the travel of the man with a view to him being exploited.
The alleged offences are said to have taken place between August last year and this May.
On Thursday (August 4), Mrs Ekweremadu, who is on bail, appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea and directions hearing, with Ekweremadu and Obeta also attending by video link from Wandsworth and Belmarsh prisons.
The defendants were not asked to enter pleas during the hearing and spoke only to confirm their identities.
Judge Richard Marks QC said the case would be heard by a High Court judge.
He identified a provisional trial from May 2 next year with an estimated length of three to four weeks.
A further plea and case management hearing was rescheduled for October 31.
The judge granted Mrs Ekweremadu continued conditional bail and remanded the male defendants into custody