A four-man armed syndicate that has been terrorizing Asaba and its environs that specializes in robbing and snatching exotic cars as well as kidnapping their victims have been sentenced to death by hanging by a Delta High Court sitting at Asaba.
The court presided over by Honourable Justice Flora Ngozi Azinge (Mrs.) while delivering the court’s verdict on Thursday that lasted for several hours in a criminal case between the State and five defendants, Uche Vincent Uzondu (M), Emeka Amukali (M), Paul Egwom (M), Festus Oghali (m), and David Mario (m) in a 9-count charge bothering on conspiracy to commit felony to wit; kidnapping, armed robbery and wounding with intent, found four out of the five defendants guilty of all the 9 count charge and were accordingly sentenced to death by hanging on the count of armed robbery.
Justice Azinge, however, discharged and acquitted the 5th defendant, David Mario of all the charges for lack of sufficient evidence by the Prosecution linking him to the crime.
The court in its judgement, held that the state established and proved beyond reasonable doubt the offenses for which they were charged and that the defendants failed woefully to create any doubt.
While disbelieving the evidence of the defendants, the court further held that from their confessional statements, they conspired and worked together in synergy to perpetrate their nefarious criminal activities, adding that their denials that they do not know each other was a blatant lie and an after thought.
She ruled that from their confessional statements, two of the defendants statements corroborated as they narrated vividly in their separate accounts their modus oparandi.
Prosecution led by a Deputy Director from the Delta State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Tracy Uriah, in her final written address to the court, had urged the court to convict the defendants and impose the minimum punishment prescribed by the various sections of the law which they violated. She told the court that she had supplied sufficient evidence before the court that the defendants committed all the nine count charge.
In the particulars of offence filed by The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice through the Director of Public Prosecutions against the defendants, the Court was told that Uche Vincent, Paul Egwom, Emeka Amukali who was on bail before the court verdict and David Mario, on or about the 3rd day of December, 2014, at Asaba within the Asaba judicial division, robbed one Ilechie Michael Nnaemeke of his Lexus RX 350 SUV with registration no BDG 203 DA, two mobile phones and other valuables while armed with a gun and also wounded him with intent as he was shot in the leg when he raised alarm during the scuffle the ensued.
On the 13th day of December, the accused persons carried out another operation successfully in Asaba where they did not only rob one Titus Ayuba, a Surveyor by profession, of his Lexus RX 350 SUV with Reg no AKU 230 HT, one laptop computer, GPS receiver, cheque book and other valuables while armed with guns but was also kidnapped and held hostage for six days and collected an undisclosed sum of money from his wife as ransom.
Not done with their insatiable appetite for robbing exotic cars, the gang also on the 16th day of December, 2014 at Asaba within the Asaba Judicial Division, robbed one other victim, Emeka Ojogwu of his infinity SUV with Reg No AJ262AYB, the sum of N320,000, one wrist watch and two mobile phones while armed with guns. They also held him hostage for six days while a ransom of N600, 000 was said to have been paid by his wife before he was released from captivity.
Nemesis however caught up with the gang when one of their victims whose car was also snatched at gun point sighted his stolen car which has already been painted to another colour around a shop along the ever busy Asaba Benin Expressway and reported the discovery to the IPO.
Acting on the tip off, when detectives swooped on the said shop where stolen cars are refurbished, several cars were recovered while the accused persons were apprehended and upon interrogation, they made confessional statements admitting to have been responsible for the spates of car snatching and kidnapping within Asaba and its environs.
Reacting to the verdict, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor Esq who spoke through the DPP, Ernest Edomwonyi Esq said the court verdict is justice well delivered not only to the victims but to society and expressed the hope that it will serve as a deterrent to others.
The Attorney-General averred that the State Government zero tolerance for crime was on course and advised youths to key into the various educational and youth empowerment programmes of the Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration. He advised youths to shun all forms of vices and get rich quick syndrome.