A man who sparked a five year international manhunt when he fled to Nigeria after stabbing a CBBC presenter has been found guilty of murder at Woolwich Crown Court.
24 year old Jeffrey Okafor stabbed Carl Beatson-Asiedu in 2009.
Carl was 19 at the time of his death.
He was known as ‘Charmz’, he was a university student and a part-time DJ who was well known on the clubbing scene and had performed a set at a nightclub in Kennington on the night of his death.
After his set, Carl and his friends were walking along Goding Street towards to their vehicle when they were approached by a group of men.
A few of them were known to Carl and his friends as they had previously attended the same college.
There had been a minor dispute between the groups in the past, with one of Carl’s friends being targeted and threatened.
Despite this, since leaving college the two groups had seen each other often at parties and there had been no further issues until that night.
An argument broke out between one of the men and one of Carl’s friends which led to an altercation, during which Carl became separated from his friends and was fatally stabbed by Okafor.
Carl was found lying in the road by other friends who were driving past.
They placed him in their car and drove in the direction of the hospital.
The friend who was with Carl in the moments leading up to his murder was also stabbed during the incident.
He recovered from his injuries.
Within an hour of the attack, Okafor phoned his girlfriend and told her that he had been involved in the incident saying ‘there had been a madness’.
He asked her to look after the pair of black gloves he had worn that evening.
Days later he also asked her to dispose of his distinctive t-shirt in a roadside bin.
When police identified and spoke to his girlfriend she handed them the gloves which were found to have Carl’s DNA on them.
Detectives went to Okafor’s house in the early hours of the morning on August 13th 2009 but found he wasn’t there; he had in fact escaped out of a back window into a neighbour’s garden, returning when the police had left.
He then emptied his bank account and checked into a hotel for three days before catching a flight to Lagos, Nigeria, using his brother Junior’s passport.
Okafor was captured on CCTV with his brother at Heathrow Airport, where they swapped clothing.
In Nigeria Okafor began building a new life, and officers discovered later he had studied at Novena University and even joined the National Youth Service Corps, completing part of the equivalent of national service.
However, in the lead up to the fifth anniversary of Carl’s murder, detectives renewed their appeal to trace him, strongly supported by Carl’s family.
A reward of £10,000 for information was secured and promoted worldwide via the media and Facebook.
Vital information was provided to detectives.
With the help of the Nigerian authorities and the British High Commission and Okafor was arrested on 23 of September 2014.
Detective Inspector Alison Hepworth said:
Jeffrey Okafor fled the UK to Nigeria illegally under a false identity in the hope of evading capture. He lived a relatively comfortable life and even had the opportunity to study at university. There is no doubt that he was supported by others both in the UK and in Nigeria. In the five years he was on the run he was living a life that Carl should have been living but he was never afforded the opportunity to finish university.
Carl’s death has had a profound effect on his family and they have waited a very long time to see justice served. The MPS has supported the family through the previous trials and over the course of the past five years since Carl’s death. Carl’s family and friends have shown faith in the police to bring to justice all of the people involved in Carl’s murder. I can only commend them for their steadfastness and patience and I hope that seeing their son’s killer finally behind bars brings some form of comfort to them.
Today’s conviction should also serve as a warning to those who attempt to evade justice. No matter the length of time or distance we will do all we can, using all means available to us to find you.
This was an international manhunt and Okafor’s detention would not have been achieved had it not been for the assistance of the Nigerian Police Force, the British High Commission in Abuja and the Nigerian Ministry of Justice. I would like to thank them all for the help they provided in securing Okafor’s return to the UK.