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Supreme Court Confirms Death Sentence On Killers Of Retired Naval Officer

The Supreme Court has finally put to rest the case of Patrick Olufemi Kolawole Ogedengbe vs The State, concerning the tragic murder of a woman, Retired Navy Captain Yetunde Peters by her driver and estate agent in 1999 by affirming the death sentence earlier meted on him.

The two accused persons later confessed that they killed the woman, who lived alone in her apartment, with a knife, wrapped up the body in a rug and disposed it in the lagoon.

The two killers were earlier convicted and sentenced to death by the High Court of Lagos State while their appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The driver, Patrick Ogedengbe, however appealed further to the Supreme Court questioning his conviction for murder on the basis of a retracted confessional statement, since the body of the victim was never found.

When at the trial stage, the appellant objected to the tendering of the confessional statement on the ground that he had been forced to write it, the Judge had ordered a trial within trial, after which the Court found that the statement had been voluntarily made.

At the Supreme Court, it was held that there were several factors that supported the confessional statement and sufficiently linked the Appellant to the commission of the crime, including an attempt by the Appellant to sell the deceased’s property in Lekki soon after her death.

The appellant had actually presented himself as the son of the deceased and informed a prospective buyer that his mother whose name was on the Certificate of Occupancy was dead. At this time, the deceased had only been declared missing by her surprised neighbours and relatives and no one else knew that she was dead.

Accordingly, the apex court, on Friday June 13, 2014, held that the prosecution had presented enough evidence to support the confessional statement of the appellant and had proved the offences charged beyond reasonable doubt.

The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the decision of the lower courts and the sentence of death by hanging, which was passed on the Appellant.





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