By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The first accused person, Uduak-Abasi Akpan, in the alleged rape and murder of 26-year-old Akwa Ibom jobseeker, Miss Iniubong Umoren, has denied knowing the deceased.
The alleged serial rapist while opening his defence on Wednesday, also denied knowing one Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday, who the prosecution had alleged were also his (Uduak-Abasi) rape victims.
The first accused person, who is standing trial before Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, made the denials when his lawyer, Samson Adula, asked him to tell the court what he knew about the charges of rape and murder of Iniubong Umoren levelled against him.
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.”
On the alleged rape of one Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday, the accused, said: “I do not know those two names. My Lord, I can say that the allegations by Miriam Akpan and Blessing Sunday were mere set-up.”
But during cross-examination when the prosecuting counsel, Christopher Udoh, asked the accused person if he remembered that when he was brought to court for trial on July 26, 2021, in respect of late Umoren’s case that he had pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, and ‘not guilty’ to rape, he told the court that he was feeling traumatized that very day.He added that he pleaded guilty to the charge of murder because the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, Archibong, had asked him to plead guilty.