Justice Bassey Nkanang of the Akwa Ibom State High Court on Thursday sentenced Uduak Akpan to death by hanging for the murder of Iniubong Umoren.
Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo, was killed on April 2021. She was job hunting while awaiting mobilisation for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme.
Uduak’s father, Frank Akpan, and his sister, Anwan Bassey (2nd and 3rd accused) were discharged and acquitted.
Finding Akpan guilty of rape in the over two-hour judgement, the judge said the prosecution has proved beyond doubt the case of rape and murder against Mr Akpan.
After the judge read out the judgment, the convicted rapist attempted to escape from the courtroom but was overpowered by security officials.
Having being lured out of her home in Uyo with a fake job interview by Uduak Akpan, the victim went missing on 29 April 2021.
Ms Umoren’s friend, Uduak Umoh, said she heard her scream for help when she established contact with her on the phone.
“She sent me a 1sec audio record on WhatsApp and I had to call her back to know if she wanted to say something to me but immediately I called her, I heard her screaming,” Ms Umoh had tweeted during the search then.
The situation forced several Nigerians to use the hashtag #FindHinyUmoren to help track the missing woman’s location or uncover the identity and location of the person she went to meet.
On April 30, 2011, Ms Umoren’s corpse was exhumed in a shallow grave by police operatives, a day after she was raped and killed at Mr Akpan’s family compound.
Her gruesome murder sparked nationwide outrage and condemnation over increasing rape cases in Nigeria.