Court sentences couple who beat domestic worker to death

An Ikeja High Court on Thursday sentenced a couple, Fortune and Stephen Nwankwo, to 14 and two years in prison, respectively, for the manslaughter of their 19-year-old maid, Joy Adole. In passing sentence, the judge, Oyindamola Ogala, held that the prosecution had convincingly proved the charge of involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy and attempt to pervert justice, and misconduct with respect to a corpse against Ms. Nwankwo. The court convicted Mr. Nwankwo on charges of conspiracy and attempt to pervert justice, misconduct with respect to a corpse, and accessory to felony. She, however, released them and cleared them of accessory to murder and accessory to felony charges. Ms. Ogala said that the court was satisfied that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were not only strong but also corroborated the fact that the maid died due to the beating of Ms. Nwankwo (first accused). “The first accused hit the deceased, which caused her death, as she was not feeling well before the incident. “The defendants did not inform or call the family of the deceased from 5 a.m. when they learned that she had died until noon when the second defendant called the sister of the deceased and asked for her full name and other personal information. so I can embalm her in the morgue. “The second accused, learning that the first accused had killed the deceased by beating her, helped her pervert the course of justice by hanging the body with a rope. “There were three adults in the house. The accused and the maid. “The defendants were the last two adults to come into contact with the maid before her death. “The hanging was staged and the deceased was hung from a rope and the position in which the police found her body did not represent suicide as her feet were on the ground,” he said. The judge further held that the defendants tampered with the evidence because they had already embalmed the body, which made it difficult for the toxicologist to perform an autopsy as the cause of death was uncertain. “Dr. Sunday Sokunle-soyemi testified in court that the deceased’s body was embalmed before she was brought in for autopsy. “As a result, the cause of death cannot be determined as the body should not have been embalmed prior to autopsy. “In the circumstance of this case where the medical evidence is inconclusive, the court will infer evidence on its available pieces of evidence. “The doctor said toxicology could not be performed because the defendants had embalmed the decedent before the embalming could be performed. “The defendants are the last couple to be seen with the deceased. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. “It is also imperative to say that the investigating police officer’s (IPO) evidence of what he saw at the scene can never be hearsay. Evidence of an initial public offering should never be considered hearsay as the defense contends in this case,” Judge Ogala said. The judge then sentenced the first defendant to 14 years for involuntary manslaughter and five years for attempted perversion of the course of justice and misconduct with respect to a corpse and ruled that he should be executed concurrently. The judge also sentenced the second defendant to two years in prison, following the defense’s allocutus. OI Barrah, in his allocutus, begged the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were a young couple and had two small children aged two and one. “We plead with the court to temper justice with mercy. They are a young couple and their children are only one and two years old respectively. The court must consider the ages of the children. READ ALSO: Court sentences man to four years in prison for rape “The defendants have no prior criminal history prior to this. I beg my lord to show them mercy,” Barrah said. NAN reports that the prosecution’s attorney, Sule Yusuf, did not make any appearances in court, following the defense attorney’s allocutus. The prosecution had charged the defendants with an eight-count amends that bordered on conspiracy, involuntary manslaughter, misconduct with respect to corpse, accessory to felony and accessory to murder. The prosecution stated that the defendants committed the crime on April 20, 2020, at 18 Ogundola Street, Bariga, Lagos State. The defense had not presented any case when the prosecution closed its case on October 12, 2021, after calling eight witnesses. The court rejected the request on November 24, 2021, for lack of merit, asking the defendants to open their defense. (YAYA) Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Court sentences couple who beat domestic worker to death