A 24-year-old aluminium fabricator, Patrick Onyeka, yesterday was sentenced to death by hanging for the strangulating an eight-yearold boy, Ayuba Erikitola. Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court delivered the verdict on the grounds that the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt the death of a human being and the act of death being caused by the intention of the convict.
Onyeka, who had earlier pleaded not guilty, was convicted on a one-count charge of murder slammed against him by the Lagos State government. The convict, a native of Achalla village in Anambra State, committed the offence on January 12, 2013 at plot 14, 3rd Avenue, Mulmaco Estate.
According to the charge sheet, Onyeka did murder the boy by strangulating him to death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Onyeka, who shared the same neighbourhood with the deceased, had lured the boy, on a Saturday morning, behind his backyard in bid to kidnap him and ask for ransom from his parents.
Meanwhile, while the kidnapping appeared to be turning successful, the convict immediately realised that the boy would identify him and probably tell his father who abducted him when finally released.
Hence, in order not to be caught, Onyeka decided to strangle the boy to bury the secret and avoid any suspicion or aftermath information that would point to him.
Onyeka further carried the body in a sack and buried it an empty septic tank inside an uncompleted building within the estate and thereafter proceeded in asking for a N5 million ransom from the boy’s father. More so, after strangling the boy, he wrote a ransom note in which he included his phone number and delivered it discreetly to the boy’s father’s residence.