Court sentences 5 to death over kidnap, murder of Shell staff in Port Harcourt

A Rivers State High Court has sentenced five persons to death by hanging for kidnapping and killing of a staff of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Mr Anthony Okoro.

Oluchi Charles, Miracle Anumuna, Ifeanyi Simon, Koko Basset and Uchenna Stanley Amaechi were convicted out of seven persons charged for the murder in suit number PHC/324/2017.

Chukwudi Etete and Anthony Ugwu who are the fifth and sixth defendants were discharged and acquitted by the court.

The convicts had attacked the home of Anthony Okoro on May 26, 2016, in Woji area of Port Harcourt, where they shot him and took away his body.

It was gathered that they stole a Range Rover SUV, Kia Optimal car, television sets, an Infinix phone and other valuables belonging to the victim.

The police later arraigned them on a 10-count charge bordering on stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder.

Justice George Omereji, in his verdict on Tuesday, held that the prosecution proved its case that the first to fourth and seventh defendants were as guilty as charged.

While discharging and acquitting the fifth and sixth defendants, the Judge held that the prosecution could not prove that they had knowledge of the crime, rather they unknowingly bought phones belonging to the victim.

The judge also held that the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy against the convicts.

Justice Omereji said: “It was proven that the convicts had met at Genesis area of Woji in Port Harcourt and planned the kidnap of Okoro and the death of the victim was caused by the convicts,”

The judge who based his verdict on Section 410 of the Administration of Criminal Justice 2011, regretted that Okoro was shot on his arm and taken away alongside his cars and other valuables by the suspects.

He said the convicts should be held by the rope till they are confirmed dead.

The prosecution counsel, I. Ubulom, who described the judgement as justice done, said the verdict would serve as a deterrent to others involved in criminal activities.