A Nigerian, Jeffrey Okafor, 24, who was extradited back to the United Kingdom (UK) and arrived at London Heathrow Airport on 6 November 2014, where he was arrested and charged with murder, will be sentenced today,May 1, 2015.
Okafor was found guilty of the murder of Carl Beatson-Asiedu, 19, in 2009. The young man, who was said to have sparked a five-year international manhunt after he fled the UK, following the crime he committed was found guilty of murder yesterday, April 30, 2015, during a trial at Woolwich Crown Court.
A statement made available, on Thursday, by the British High Commission’s Press Secretary, Edward Dunn, in Abuja said: “He will be sentenced at the same court on 1 May 2015.”
It reads: “The court heard how in the early hours of Saturday, 1 August 2009, Carl died in the street after being stabbed in the heart. Carl and his friends were walking to their vehicle when they were approached by a group of males, a few of whom were known to Carl and his friends. An argument quickly broke out between one of the men and one of Carl’s friends which led to an altercation, during which Carl and his friends became separated. Carl was fatally stabbed by Jeffrey Okafor.
“Carl discovered him in the back seat of a car suffering from a serious stab wound. Police officers provided first aid as well as calling the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance. Doctors tried to save Carl’s life but sadly all medical assistance was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead. A post-mortem held at Greenwich mortuary gave the cause of death as a single stab wound to the heart.”
It added that a forensic examination identified Carl’s DNA on a glove that was handed to the police by Okafor’s girlfriend.
“Detectives attended Okafor’s home address in the early hours of 13 August 2009 but he was not there. Enquiries identified that Okafor went to Barclays Bank and withdrew all of the funds from his bank account. He then travelled to Barking where he stayed in a hotel for three days. On the fourth day, 17th of August 2009, Jeffrey Okafor was captured on CCTV with his brother Junior Okafor at Heathrow Airport. The footage showed the two brothers together prior to swapping clothing and Jeffrey Okafor then leaving the UK using his brother’s passport on an Air France flight to Lagos, Nigeria.
“On the lead up to the fifth anniversary of Carl’s murder (1 August 2014) detectives, supported by Carl’s family, renewed their appeal to trace Okafor, offering a £10,000 reward. In the five years he had been hiding out in Nigeria, Okafor was leading a relatively comfortable life. He studied at Novena University and joined the National Youth Service Corps,” the statement said.
With the help of the Nigerian Police Force and the British High Commission, according to the release, detectives arrested Okafor on 23rd of September 2014.
“He was apprehended at a bank in Warri, Delta State where he was arrested by Nigerian police officers. Okafor was extradited back to the UK and arrived at London Heathrow Airport on 6 November 2014, where he was arrested and charged with Carl’s murder,” it stated.
Detective Inspector Alison Hepworth said: “Jeffrey Okafor fled the UK to Nigeria illegally under a false identity in the hope of evading capture. He lived a relatively comfortable life and even had the opportunity to study at university. There is no doubt that he was supported by friends and family both in the UK and in Nigeria.
“Carl’s death has had a profound effect on his family and they have waited a very long time to see justice served. The Metropolitan Police Service has supported the family through the previous trials and over the course of the past 5 years since Carl’s death. I can only commend them for their steadfastness and patience and I hope that seeing their son’s killer finally behind bars brings some form of comfort to them.
“Today’s conviction should also serve as a warning to those who attempt to evade justice. No matter the length of time or distance, we will do all we can and use all means available to us to find you and put you before the courts. This was an international manhunt spanning five years and Okafor’s detention would not have been achieved had it not been for the assistance of the Nigerian authorities, the British High Commission in Abuja and the Nigerian Ministry of Justice. I would like to thank them all for the help they provided in securing Okafor’s return to the UK.”