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Court jails couple over death of maid

A Lagos High Court has sentenced a couple, Fortune and Stephen Nwankwo to 14 and 2 years jail terms respectively for the involuntary manslaughter of their 19-year-old maid, Joy Adole.

The prosecution submitted that the defendants committed the offence on April 20, 2020, at 18, Ogundola Street, Bariga, Lagos State.

In her judgment, the trial judge Justice Oyindamola Ogala said that the prosecution had convincingly proved the charge of manslaughter, conspiracy and attempt to pervert justice.

The Judge found the couple guilty of conspiracy and manslaughter of their maid at their Bariga residence, Lagos.

Justice Ogala said the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses conform with the fact that the housemaid died as a result of the beating received from Fortune, the first defendant.

“The defendants did not inform or call the family of the deceased from 5:00 a.m. when they found out 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 as to enable them embalm her in the morgue.

“The second defendant, having found out that the first defendant had killed the deceased due to the beating, assisted her in perverting the course of justice by hanging the body with a rope. There were three adult in the house. The defendants and the housemaid. The defendants were the last two adults that got in contact with the housemaid before her death.”

“The hanging was staged and the deceased was hung by a rope and the position the police found her body did not depict suicide as her feet were on the floor,” the Judge stated.

The judge maintained that the defendants tampered with the evidence as they had already embalmed the body which made it difficult for the toxicologist to carry out an autopsy as the cause of death was uncertain.

Dr Sunday Sokunle-Soyemi, testified before the court that the body of the deceased was embalmed before she was brought for autopsy.

“As a result, the cause of death can not be ascertained as the body should not have been embalmed before autopsy.

“In the circumstance of this case where medical evidence is inconclusive, the court shall infer evidence from the evidences available. The doctor said that the toxicology could not be performed because the defendants had embalmed the deceased before embalmment could be carried out”. Dr Sunday Sokunle-Soyemi noted.

The judge also sentenced the second defendant to two years imprisonment.

Defence counsel, O Barrah, he prayed the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendants were young couple and had two little children ages two and one.