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Friday, November 22, 2019

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.
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.


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