A Nigerian woman, 28, has been found guilty of murdering her 76-year-old husband by a court in The Gambia. The body of William West, of Hastings, East Sussex, was found near his holiday home in the country in July 2006 after he was reported missing by his wife. His charred remains were discovered hidden in a sack. Kate West, who had claimed the retired businessman had disappeared in Senegal, was
given a life term and told she would be spared the death penalty.
Gambian Police Force spokesman Sulayman Secka said she would be transferred to the state Central Prison in Banjul for the killing of Dublin-born Mr West, who lived in St Helen’s Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex. Remote homeWest had admitted his murder at previous court hearings in The Gambia, but later denied the charge.
The couple had been staying at their remote holiday home in the West African country at the time of his death. West, who was a mature student, had claimed he went missing during a daytrip to Senegal on 3 July, 2006. She said he simply vanished while she waited outside a convenience store while he bought cigars, so she returned firstly to their Gambian home and then to the UK to look for him.
|This has been a protracted and traumatic time for Mr West’s family
Mr West was registered as missing when his wife returned to The Gambia and the authorities later alerted Sussex Police.
West initially told police that five Nigerian men had taken the 76-year-old from their luxury property in Sanyang and killed him. Officers from Sussex Police travelled to The Gambia to help the investigation.
An inquest into Mr West’s death in Hastings in May 2007 heard his wife later confessed to murdering him with a wooden pestle before setting his body alight. The coroner recorded an unlawful killing verdict.
Police ‘diligence’A statement from the solicitor representing Mr West’s brother Albert said: “This has been a protracted and traumatic time for Mr West’s family.
“They are pleased that justice has now been done and that Kate West has been brought to account for her crime.
“The family of Mr West have asked me to thank Sussex Police for their skill and diligence in bringing this matter to the attention of the Gambian authorities.
“The family hope that they will now be able to move on with their lives.” Defence counsel Lamin Camara said West planned to appeal against the conviction.
Mr Camara said he would prepare case papers to be sent to the Court of Appeal in Banjul over the next couple of weeks. “She is gutted about being sent to prison for life,” he said.
“She cried very much. She pleaded not guilty to the charge on the grounds that she firmly believed she did not kill Mr West.
“She did confess to the crime originally but we challenged that confession on the grounds that it wasn’t obtained voluntarily.”