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Rivers court sentences ‘Port Harcourt serial killer’ to death by hanging

GRACIOUS David-West on Friday was convicted for killing nine women after he was sentenced to death in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The presiding judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt who gave his verdict stated he was to die by hanging.

David-West was found guilty for the multiple murders of his female victims in a ten-count charge of murder and attempted murder.

David-West who hails from Buguma in Rivers State was a member of the Greenlanders popularly known as Dey Gbam, a street gang which is an offshoot of a disbanded armed militant group.

While delivering the judgement, Justice Enebeli said the sentence was based on the voluntary statement and confession of the David-West as well as the CCTV footage of the convicted which was tendered and admitted by the court during the trial.

The death penalty is not often carried out in the country as the last three executions occurred in 2016, according to a 2017 Amnesty International report.

The pattern of his killing, according to the police, was an indication of serial killing which involved having sex with his victims before binding their arms and feet with strips of white sheets.

Before using the strip of white cloth to strangle them, he also confessed to the murder of six other women but he was not charged for those murders for lack of evidence.

According to the prosecution team, he used low-cost hotels, with poor security and without CCTV cameras, in the city of Port Harcourt and its outskirts.

The women who were murdered include Maureen Ewuru, Jennifer Nwokocha, Blessing Effiong Linda Warifa Samuel, Dorcas Francis, Kelechi Bridget Onuoha Rose Samuel Anthonia Ibe, while Benita Etim who was the only known survivor.

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Benita was not a witness during the entire trial as the police said her whereabouts are unknown despite being told not to leave the state.

Also, friends and family members of the deceased women never appeared in court, except for the father of one of the victims who only came on the opening day of the trial.

The court however discharged and acquitted the second defendant, Nimi Thankgod who was accused of dumping the remains of one of the victims of the serial killer in a dustbin.

Justice Enebeli held that the prosecution was not able to prove their case beyond doubts.

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