Every third day, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign, I write about a woman killed by a man. Previously in this campaign, which started on the 2nd of May 2021, I have remembered 102 women, the last being Leanne Wall.
Today we remember Jessica McGraa.
A man has been found guilty of the “depraved” rape and murder of a mother in Aberdeen. Bala Chinda, 26, denied killing 37-year-old Nkechi McGraa – an escort also known as Jessica – at a flat in Union Terrace in February last year. Chinda sobbed as he was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 18 years, after a jury at the High Court in Aberdeen returned its verdict. Police Scotland said it was a “horrific” case. The murder verdict was unanimous, and the rape verdict was decided by a majority.
Chinda, whose father works at the Nigerian embassy in Beijing, killed Ms McGraa only a few weeks after arriving in Scotland to study at Robert Gordon University. Her body was found partially clothed on 12 February 2016, in the bedroom of the flat she rented. CCTV footage revealed that she had travelled to Chinda’s student accommodation on King Street with him in a taxi the previous evening before they returned to her apartment a short time later. The taxi driver said he heard them discussing money before she was killed. She made her last call on her mobile phone a few minutes before surveillance cameras recorded Chinda walking down the street away from her flat. The court heard that Ms McGraa died of asphyxiation and was probably smothered with a pillow and possibly strangled with her scarf.
During the trial it emerged that Ms McGraa had a seven-year-old son who lived with her adopted mother in London. Ms McGraa was originally from Nigeria and was orphaned as a child. She used to send money back to her two sisters and brothers who lived abroad. Det Ch Insp Stuart Houston said: “At the heart of this horrific crime was a young mother, daughter and friend whose life was cut tragically short in what must have been terrifying circumstances. Throughout, Chinda has shown no real remorse for his depraved action and taken no responsibility for robbing a young boy of his mother.” He said the victim’s involvement in prostitution had been reported throughout the case, and the policing of prostitution presented complex challenges.