Nigerian gets life jail in London for murder of fellow national
A 24 –year- old Nigerian, Jeffrey Okafor, who in 2009 stabbed a 19- year old boy , Carl Asiedu(a Nigerian) to death outside a nightclub ( Club Life ) in Vauxhall , South Ŵest London, has been sentenced to life jail by a United Kingdom (U.K ) court.
Okafor fled to Nigeria via Heathrow Airport , five days after the murder, using his older brother’s name and passport. He settled down to a new life, completed his university education and was undergoing the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC)programme in Delta State, when the police arrested him at a bank in Warri on September 23,2014.
He was extradited to the UK in November, and was first charged at a Magistrate Court in Croydon before the case was transferred to a court of higher jurisdiction .
Before his arrest last year, Okafor who confessed to the murder to his girlfriend ,before fleeing the UK, was brought nailed after being on the run for five years . Frustrated by no breakthrough in bringing Okafor to book, a social media campaign on facebook and a £10,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.
Before his conviction by jurors on Thursday, the court heard how Okafor had telephoned his girlfriend, Merissa Anderson , telling her he had been been involved in a “madness” at the club. A few days later, he then confessed to Anderson, that he actually stabbed Asiedu in the stomach. Okafor,who denied the murder before he jurors took just two hours in convicting him, also told his girlfriend : “ you know that Ed Hardy T – shirt? Get it into a plastic bag and put it into a bin in the road,” when she visited him at his East Dulwich home.
Prosecutor, Sarah Whitehouse, QC (Queen’s Counsel) told the court that prior to the stabbing of Asiedu, there was nothing serious between the latter’ group of friends and that of his killer.
She also told the court : “ You may hear that there was some ill feeling between some members of the two groups , but there was nothing serious enough in the background for anyone to explain why knives should be drawn.”
Although Asiedu, was not the only member of his group stabbed in the early hours of the day he met his untimely death, two of his friends who were also stabbed by two of Okafor’s group, both survived , but Asiedu was not that lucky. After being stabbed by Okafor, his friends bundled him inside their car, rang for the ambulance and headed for St Thomas’ Hospital . Police stopped their car as they searched for the hospital. He died shortly afterward and a post- mortem examination late revealed he died of a stab wound to his heart .
Okafor’s 27 year old brother, Junior Okafor , was jailed for four years in August 2010, for preventing the course of justice.
He it was who convinced their mother to pay for the plane ticket to Nigeria and also arranged for his girlfriend to drive the murderer to Heathrow Airport . Their mother was cleared in the case. Two other Nigerians had already been jailed for their part in the attack .
Okafor will serve a minimum of 17 years before being considered for parole.
When police traced his girlfriend and interviewed her, she handed the gloves to them and traces of Asiedu’s DNA were found on them.