Nigerian woman commits suicide in UK due to boyfriend's blackmailing
The Chief Executive Officer of the Airwired Nigeria Limited, Oladapo Ogundipe, has narrated how his daughter, Alanis, committed suicide in the United Kingdom on May 29 after being allegedly blackmailed by her boyfriend, Ryan Legget.
Mr Ogundipe narrated the incidents that led to the death of her daughter in an interview with DAYO OYEWO of The Punch newspaper, Nigeria.
Can you tell us a bit about your daughter, Alanis?
Alanis was born in 1997 in the United Kingdom. She finished her A levels in 2016. She went to the University of Manchester where she studied Accounting and Finance. After that, she got a job with Marks Sattin as Finance Consultant and she did that for a year. She got another job with AM Fashion between 2020 and 2021. In 2021, she was hired by KPMG in the UK. She was employed so that she could do her ACA programme. Usually, people do it for three to or five years but she chose the one-year route. And she passed 14 out of 15 exams in 10 months. Everything was going well for her until last year when she met her boyfriend, Ryan Leggets, around June. He was introduced to her by one of her friends. The friend told Ryan that Alanis had access to free money.
How much did you know about your daughter’s relationship with the opposite sex?
I have always advised my daughter that she was able to complete her university because she was not in a serious relationship and I told her to wait until she completed the ACA and became chartered before she allowed a man to come in unless they were going to flop her. So when this guy came on board, it was sudden. She had just finished the 14th exam. She had been for over ten months she had not had any interaction, so she needed that interaction. It was this friend of hers who brought this guy from nowhere. I tried to discourage her but in a very smart way so she wouldn’t run away from me.
At what point did you get to know about their affair?
It was gradual but when I got to fully know was when she said Bryan was offering her a free gift to travel to Italy on her birthday on February 12 and I told her not to go. I told her not to accept a gift from him and that the guy was going to put her at his mercy. But before I knew it, she had actually gone. She now said the guy was paying for everything. This thing was not clear to me until after she had died before I got all the evidence. In less than one month of the relationship, he already said he wanted to marry her and take her to his mother. They met in June and by the first week of August, he had given her herpes. My daughter was ignorant that she thought she would not be able to meet anyone again due to the infection. She actually told her mother that she felt her life was ruined. She was stuck with the guy because of the infection. This is a girl who was a Director of my company in Nigeria, to whom I sent money regularly and who did not need his help for anything. If they wanted to do anything together, he would loan her the money so as to make her do it. He would first tell her it was a gift and then tell her it was a loan.
When did he start to blackmail her?
The whole thing escalated when they came back from Italy as he started asking for her bank statements on May 13. He started shouting at her. After she refused to give it to him, he waited till May 28 after he had found out that she was expecting 100,000 pounds and that her passport was required for this money to be sent. That was how he broke into her phone on May 28 around 10am while she was asleep.
What was the money meant for?
She was the Director of the company and we have been trying to involve her in so many ways. So the money was meant for a particular investment in the UK and we had been communicating about how we were going to send it. So it was possible that the guy knew about it. So after he broke into her phone and copied the information, he kicked her out of his flat violently and he seized the ID required to collect this money. At this point, my daughter did not realise that he had broken into her phone until he started to use the information to blackmail her. So he made her apologize to him and now used the apology to get to her agree in writing that she was going to pay him the coerced debt she owed her.
Since you didn’t know about this on time, was her mother also not aware?
Because Alanis knew that I did not encourage that, she was careful not to tell me anything. It was only her mother that she told about the shouting. She called her mother on May 26 that there was a problem, so the mother quickly drove to Manchester where she witnessed the communication with her boyfriend. The mother saw the damage she was in and kept telling her everything would be okay. At that point, everything was still not really clear to her. Alanis told her she thought the guy had got into her phone. It was after the incident that she realized that the guy had manipulated her to apologise in a written document and made her say she was going to pay.
So how did she manage to commit suicide despite her mother being with her?
On the day of the incident, she told her mother that she was going to leave Manchester because everybody was going to find out and that she was scared that she would lose her social group. The mother said the discussion with Ryan lasted the whole day as she was getting her to agree with his terms. Later in the day, she did her make-up, took her lipstick and car keys and she drove out of the house. The mother had no idea what she was up to as she did not look like anyone who wanted to kill herself. But she had more communication with Ryan on the phone and that is what I think led to the suicide. The police said the CCTV revealed that she was on a phone with someone when she suddenly jumped into a moving train. She did not survive it. She committed suicide four hours after she agreed to pay him.
Aside from manipulating her to apologise in writing, what other issues did Ryan raise to blackmail her?
He told Alanis that she traded and gambled with crypto with her money which was not his business. And she replied to him that she was doing that because of the both of them. Ryan also said he would expose her on how she had stayed awake and passed her university and professional exams by using stimulants. In the UK, there was a law against cohesive and controlling behaviours. Ryan’s action is geared towards that. Alanis had never had any issues with money until she met this guy.
At what point did you initiate a communication with Ryan?
I never spoke to him until a week after she died because I needed some clarity. I called him out of love even when I did not know what had really happened. That was when he shared what transpired between them with me. He showed me how my daughter begged him and how she was going through pain. He told me how he broke into her phone without a password. In the communication he shared with me, I discovered that after the apology, my daughter told her everything he had been saying was a lie. My daughter in the conversation said she was in pain. That was when I realized the guy had actually deceived her and got her to apologise and pay. The idea of sharing the information with me was to make me feel she genuinely apologized. But when I realized this, I told him the second day he was responsible for what happened and he started attacking me with all sorts of words.
What have the police authorities done since the incident happened?
Since she left her mum in the house to commit suicide and the police came to her door some minutes later, they have not collected her mother’s statement as I am speaking to you. What they have been using is the information this guy has shown them where she apologized to him. The guy was prepared, we were not prepared because it came as a shock to us. I complained on July 26 because the British Transport Police were going to close the case after their initial investigation. After I got the information from the guy and showed them the evidence, they ‘crimed’ that aspect and forwarded it to Manchester police. The officer they assigned promised to return in three days after he finished speaking to the suspect and check my daughter’s phone, but he never did. He just wrote his report that there was no evidence. We complained against him to the police watchdog and they promised to review what the officer did. That is where we are.
How concerned are you about the documents with Ryan and why he has not been arrested?
Nobody knows the extent of what he copied. His phone has not been collected. My daughter was the Director of my company. Do we know what else he had taken from that phone aside from what he showed me? He has not been arrested or questioned. They have based everything on Bryan’s own statement. That is the only person they have listened to. And it was because the guy was ahead of us and that is what has been helping him to date. He has been walking freely since the ‘criming’ of the evidence. He also tried to use the information with him to obtain money from me. How can he use that information to get away when there is a law in the UK called computer misuse? They have not even extracted the last communication they both had. I need justice for my daughter. This kind of thing should not happen to any parent.