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The police knew that sheer shock value would keep the story in the headlines for a few days but they also knew that a body without a face, without a name, meant there was a real danger of this being perceived as a murder without a victim.
So they gave the boy a name.‘His name is Adam,’ a visibly affected Commander Andy Baker told us, ‘and until we can identify him and his family, we will act as his family.’ Ten years on, with the case still unsolved, they are still acting as his family.
What I want to believe is that he was so drugged he was unconscious and oblivious of the terrifying events that were about to unfold. Post mortem results, too grim to bear much repetition, reveal that he was still alive when his throat was cut; the West African poison that was found in his intestine is a paralysing agent, not an anaesthetic.
There’s a very real chance that Adam would have seen what was coming.
Dr Hoskins, who has been instrumental in helping police with the case, said the precision of the cuts — the knife used was meticulously sharpened between each incision — shows that the dismemberment of the body was all part of the ritual.
In some forms of African witchcraft — particularly those associated with South Africa — dismembered body parts are used in medicine.
For the Met to be confronted with a ritual murder of this sort was unprecedented.