A four-man syndicate that specialised in robbing, kidnapping and snatching exotic cars in Asaba and its environs have been sentenced to death by hanging by a High Court in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The court, presided over by Justice Flora Azinge, in the judgment lasting over four hours on Thursday, found four of the five defendants guilty of all the nine counts and accordingly sentenced them to death by hanging.
The criminal case was between the state and five defendants Uche Uzondu, Emeka Amukali, Paul Egwom, Festus Oghali, and David Mario in nine counts of conspiracy to commit felony to wit; kidnapping and armed robbery Justice Azinge, however, discharged and acquitted the fifth defendant, David Mario, of all the charges for lack of sufficient evidence by the prosecution linking him to the crime.
The court, in its judgment, held that the state established and proved beyond reasonable doubt the offences for which the four were charged and that the defendants failed to create any doubt. Faulting the evidence of the defendants, the court further held that from their confessional statements, they conspired to perpetrate their nefarious activities. The court noted that Uche, Mario, Egwom, including Amukali, who was on bail before the verdict on December 3, 2014, in Asaba, robbed one Ilechie Nnaemeke of his Lexus RX 350 SUV with number plate BDG 203 DA, two mobile phones and other valuables armed with a gun and shot him in the leg when he raised the alarm when attacked.
On December 13, 2014, the accused persons were said to have carried out another operation successfully in Asaba where they robbed one Titus Ayuba, a surveyor, of his Lexus RX 350 SUV with number plate AKU 230 HT, one laptop computer, GPS receiver, cheque book and other valuables and held him hostage for six days with an undisclosed ransom paid by his wife.
Also on December 16, 2014 in the Asaba judicial division, they robbed one Emeka Ojogwu of his infinity SUV with number plate AJ262AYB, N320,000, one wristwatch and two mobile phones with guns, held him hostage for six days and collected a ransom of N600,000 from his wife before his release.
The gang was caught when one of its victims saw his stolen car, which had been painted in another colour, around a shop along the ever-busy Asaba-Benin Expressway and reported to the police.
Reacting to the verdict, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, who spoke through the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ernest Edomwonyi, said the verdict was a well-delivered justice not only to the victims but to society.
Story: Linda Ikeji