The prime suspect in the ongoing trial for the murder of Iniubong Umoren has changed his story and denied knowing the victim.
Uduak Frank Akpan, who is on trial for murder and rape on two counts, made the U-turn while giving evidence as he opened his defense after the prosecution closed its case.
He initially pleaded guilty in Akwa Ibom State High Court 9 to the murder of Ms Umoren, whose body was said to have been exhumed from Akpan’s father’s residence in the state’s Uruan local government area.
But when he opened his defense on Wednesday, he told the Court that he got to know about the name “Iniubong Umoren” when he was served with the proceedings of the trial while in Prison custody.
He said, “My Lord, I do not know Miss Iniubong Umoren. I only came to know that name when I was served with the proceedings of this trial at the Prison. For the second charge of rape, my Lord, I do not know anything about rape. I have never raped anybody. I pleaded guilty because I had fever on that day and my IPO’s influence in the Court.”
The 21-year-old also denied raping anyone since he was born.
On why he pleaded guilty when the charge was read to him during his initial arraignment before the first trial judge, Justice Bennett Ilaumoh, in July 2021, Uduak Frank Akpan said he had fever on that day.
After hearing the evidence, the trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang ordered that Uduak Frank Akpan who is standing trial with his father, the second accused person, Mr. Frank Akpan and his sister, the third accused, be remanded in the Uyo Correctional Centre till the next adjourned date.
The case has been adjourned to Monday, April 11, 2022.