A Nigerian man on Friday received the death sentence for the serial murders of nine women in hotel rooms in the country’s oil hub in what appeared to be ritual killings.
Gracious David-West, 40, was arrested in September last year after several women were found strangled to death in different hotels in Port Harcourt, the capital of the southeastern Rivers state.
They had white cloth wrapped around their necks and waists, possibly indicating ritual crimes, according to police.
The killings sparked outrage and prompted women to take to the streets of the city to demand better police protection.
Judge Adolphus Enebele found David-West guilty of the murder of nine women and the attempted murder of another, and sentenced him to death by hanging.
David-West’s lawyer Vincent Chukwu told AFP they would appeal the court’s decision.
The serial killer appeared in court alongside a woman, Nimi Thankgod, who was acquitted over charges of “misconduct with the corpse of one of the victims.”
When David-West was arrested, police paraded him through the streets and published a video on Twitter showing him admitting to the murders. A month later, he retracted his statement and pleaded not guilty in court.
Rivers state has one of the highest crime rates in Nigeria, and several violent cults flourish there.
Around 2,000 people are currently on death row in Nigeria, but only seven have been executed in the past 10 years, according to rights groups. AFP