01 April 2021

Police say ‘no activity’ on missing student’s mobile phone since disappearance nine days ago

01 April 2021

Police investigating the disappearance of student Richard Okorogheye have said there has been “no activity” on his mobile phone.

Mr Okorogheye, 19, who has sickle cell disease, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of Monday March 22, and was reported missing two days later.

The Metropolitan Police have released CCTV images of the Oxford Brookes University student in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23.

But Mr Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance, officers investigating the case said .

Richard Okorogheye missing (PA Wire)

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said: “We’ve been making extensive inquiries into the disappearance of Richard and over the last few days we’ve conducted a number of inquiries in relation to his mobile phone activity and also his financial activity.

“As a direct consequence of that we are able to identify that Richard paid for a taxi from west London which brought him here (Loughton).”

Mr Gosling said the teenager’s laptop and computer are being examined at a police lab for clues.

Asked if there had been any recent activity on Mr Okorogheye’s mobile phone, he added: “As far as we can tell at the moment, there’s been no activity on those that we’re aware of.”

Initial police enquiries identified Mr Okorogheye leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.

In a previously confirmed sighting on Monday March 22, Mr Okorogheye was seen boarding the 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.

Richard Okorogheye missing (PA Wire)

CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.

Police said further enquires have established that he then took a taxi journey from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton.

He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12:39am on Tuesday March 23.

A range of specialist search officers as well as colleagues from the dog unit continued the search in and around Epping Forest on Thursday.

Richard Okorogheye missing (PA Media)

Mr Gosling said: “Our search for Richard is continuing at pace today – we are doing all that we can to locate him and bring him home to his family, who miss him dearly.

“Officers have been working tirelessly behind the scenes in an effort to trace Richard’s movements that evening, with assistance from specialist search teams, the Met’s dog and mounted branch units and colleagues from other police forces.

“I have a lot of officers who have requested to stay with the investigation over the Easter weekend, I have a teenage son myself and this strikes a chord. We all want to carry on and all our hopes are that we can reunite Richard with his family.

“Today’s searches are focused mainly in and around the Epping Forest area and local residents will notice an increased police presence while we carry out our enquiries. We have also been making door-to-door enquiries and leafletting the Smarts Lane area.”

He added: “At this stage we don’t know why Richard has come to Loughton, there is no clear reason, but we hope our enquiries will help us find out why.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134.

Mr Okorogheye’s mother Evidence Joel previously said that her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.

As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox