Alleged Port Harcourt ‘Serial Killer’ Changes Plea To Not Guilty

 

 

Suspected “serial killer”, Gracious David West, reversed his plea to not guilty in court Thursday after earlier confessing to strangling nine women in a string of ritual-style killings.

Mr. West, 26, was arrested in September on accusations he lured his victims to hotels in Port Harcourt before drugging and murdering them.

The killings sparked outrage and prompted women to take to the streets of the city, the heart of Rivers state, to demand better police protection.

READ ALSO: Police Nab Alleged Serial Killer In Rivers

Police released a video on Twitter after West was detained showing him admitting to the crimes.

But in court on Thursday he reversed the admission.

“The defendant had earlier pleaded guilty to the 9 count charge of murder but has decided to change his plea today,” prosecutor Chidi Ekeh said.

The suspect’s lawyer Vincent Chukwu dismissed the earlier guilty plea as having “no legal effect”.

“The basis of this matter is the evidence. Let them (the prosecution) put their evidence before the court”, he told AFP.

A second defendant, accused of involvement in the killings, Nimi Thankgod, also pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.

Police arrested the suspects after the bodies of nine victims were found across the city and described West as a “notorious serial killer” and cult member.

The authorities said the deceased were discovered with a white cloth wrapped around their necks and waist in a style that suggested ritual murders.

Port Harcourt and the surrounding region has one of the highest crime rates in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

It is rife with so-called cults, criminal gangs that emerged from university campuses to become organised crime groups and frequently engage in blood rituals and oaths.

Police Say Truck Containing 39 Bodies Entered From Belgium

British Police forensic officers work on a lorry after it was discovered containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019.
British Police forensic officers work on a lorry after it was discovered containing 39 dead bodies, at Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, east of London, on October 23, 2019.

 

British police said a truck with 39 bodies found earlier Wednesday in an industrial park east of London had entered the UK at nearby Purfleet from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.

“After further enquiries, we now believe that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge into Purfleet, and docked in the Thurrock area shortly after 12:30am this morning (2330 GMT Tuesday),” Essex Police said, having earlier said they thought it had entered Britain at Holyhead in Wales.

Police Arrest 80-Year-Old, Others For culpable Homicide In Plateau

 

An eighty year old man was among twenty six suspects apprehended by the Plateau State police command for committing various offences including criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide as well as possession of counterfeit currency, cultism, armed robbery and other sundry offences.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner of police in Plateau State, Mr Isaac Akinmoyede in a press briefing at the state police headquarters in Jos.

READ ALSO: Operation Whirl Stroke: Troops Arrests Ghana’s Weapons Suppliers,16 Kidnappers

Mr Akinmoyede told journalists that the command is strengthening and deploying its personnel to the field for effectiveness in combating crime in the state.

Canada Shooter Charged With Four Counts Of Homicide

File photo of Canadian Police van

The man behind a fatal shooting in an eastern Canada city has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, police said on Saturday.

Authorities identified the gunman as Matthew Vincent Raymond, 48, who opened fire in the sleepy city of Fredericton, New Brunswick early Friday, killing four including two officers.

Raymond, who was injured and hospitalised, was charged with four premeditated homicides, though police did not provide details of his motives.

He will remain in custody as he awaits a court appearance slated for August 27, Fredericton police said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials released the names of the two civilians slain in the shooting: Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32.

On Friday authorities in the provincial capital — about 75 kilometers (45 miles) from the border between Canada and the US state of Maine — had identified the two officers killed as Lawrence Robert Costello, 45, and Sara Mae Helen Burns, 43.

The incident sparked panic in the city as Canada grapples with rising gun violence, with some calling for a handgun ban.

The mass shooting is the second in the province in recent years, and comes only weeks after a man opened fire on July 22 in a bustling Toronto district, killing an 18-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl while wounding 13 other people.

In 2014, three federal police officers were killed and two more were injured after responding to an emergency call about an armed man roaming a residential neighborhood of nearby Moncton, New Brunswick.

A 28-hour manhunt ensued before police caught up to the suspect and arrested him, in what was described as the second-deadliest attack on Canadian police since four Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were ambushed on a Mayerthorpe, Alberta farm in 2005.

AFP

Lagos DNA Centre To Tackle Homicide, Drug Abuse

Lagos DNA Centre To Tackle Homicide, Drug Abuse
File photo

 

The Lagos State government says it has awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre to include a world-class Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Section.

The state government said the expansion was in line with efforts to enlarge the scope of operation of the centre to offer more services.

Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday by the Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the ministry, Mr Kayode Oyekanmi.

Kazeem explained that the section was added due to the high incidence and growing cases of homicide and suspicious deaths related to substance, alcohol abuse, drug-related accidents and deaths, as well as suspected cases of poisoning.

“The award of this contract by the state government is in fulfilment of the promise made by His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the commissioning of the Centre in September 2017,” he said.

“The Governor (had) informed Lagosians and the world that the first phase of the centre was that of DNA and Forensic Biology and promised that the state would move to other phases by expanding the scope of operation of the centre to include Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry; Latent and Trace evidence, Firearms and Toolmark, Questioned documents and Digital evidence; to expand the level of services offered by the DNA Centre,” he added.

The commissioner was hopeful that the new section, which would be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of 2018, would automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for forensics in Africa.

According to him, the DNA and Forensic Centre in the last three months received over 150 requests for forensic analysis from within and outside Nigeria while over 35 cases have been resolved using forensic technology.

Kazeem added that the centre, since it began operation in September 2017, has become a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of Governor Ambode’s efforts to carry out reforms in the justice sector.

Some of the cases handled by the centre include suspicious death investigations, analysis of human remains that were exhumed to resolve inheritance disputes, child trafficking, rape, impersonation, paternity and maternity issues among others.

The Attorney-General said the centre has held workshops and training for judges, legal practitioners, police, as well as other law enforcement agencies and emergency responders in the state.

He added that several representatives of foreign embassies in Nigeria and international agencies have visited the facility and are willing to partner with the centre.

Migrants Boat Capsize: Captain Charged

The captain of the migrants boat that capsized has been arrested and chargedThe Tunisian captain of a boat that capsized off Libya on Sunday, killing hundreds of migrants, has been arrested and charged with reckless multiple homicide, Italian officials say.

According to BBC, the Captain has been charged alongside a member of the crew with favouring illegal immigration.

The charges came after the European Union (EU) set out a package of measures to ease the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

Search and rescue operations will be stepped up, and there will be a campaign to destroy traffickers’ boats.

A homicide investigation has been opened into the disaster, he added.

After speaking to the survivors, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency said about 800 people died in the disaster. Meanwhile, earlier accounts had put the death toll at about 700.

“There were a little over 800 people on board, including children aged between 10 and 12,” said Carlotta Sami, of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy.

“There were Syrians, about 150 Eritreans, Somalians… They had left Tripoli at about 8:00am on Saturday.”

It was earlier reported that the ship was in distress in the Mediterranean and sent out an SOS.