Uduak Akpan has been sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Iniubong Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo.
Umoren was job hunting while awaiting mobilisation for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme when she was killed on April 2021.
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Uduak’s father, Frank Akpan, and his sister, Anwan Bassey (2nd and 3rd accused) were discharged and acquitted.
Finding Akpan guilty of rape in the over two-hour judgement, the judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang of the Akwa Ibom State High Court on Thursday said the prosecution has proved beyond doubt the case of rape and murder against Mr Akpan.
After the judge read out the judgment, the convicted rapist attempted to escape from the courtroom but was overpowered by security officials.
When the convict first appeared in court on July 26, 2021, he pleaded guilty to murder, but not guilty to rape.
Having admitted to murdering the victim, the court, however, entered a not-guilty plea for the murder of Ms Umoren.
To the surprise of many, Akpan later made a U-turn during his trial and denied raping and killing Ms Umoren.
He told the court that he had a fever the day he pleaded guilty and that it was the influence of his Investigating Police Office that made him plead guilty.
The convict also denied the confessional statements he made to the police, stressing that a similar statement made to the Department of State Services (DSS) was done under duress.
But Ama Okeke, a call data analyst with the DSS, who testified before the court, presented a video recording of Mr Akpan’s interview session which countered his claims. The court admitted the video as evidence.
Presenting a call record analysis in court, the DSS official said Akpan and Ms Umoren were at the same cell record and coordinate (location) in Nung Ikono Obio in Uruan Local Government Area.
According to Okeke, investigations by the secret service led to the arrest of Mr Akpan’s sister, who is the 3rd accused person, Bassey-Awan, in Calabar, Cross River State.
Apart from his confessional statements to the police and the DSS, the convict told reporters how he lured and killed the victim while he was paraded at the police headquarters in Uyo.
In his testimony before the court to justify his son’s innocence, Frank Akpan, the father of the convict, told the court his son had a mental disorder and was an outpatient at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.