Justice Oyindamola Ogala of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, yesterday, sentenced a couple, Fortune and Stephen Nwankwo to 14 and two years imprisonment respectively, for the involuntary killing of their 19-year-old housemaid, Ms. Joy Adole.
The judge sentenced them after they were found guilty of the eight-count charge brought against them by the state government.
They were charged for killing 19-year-old Adole, on April 20, 2020, at their residence, located at 18, Ogundola Street, Bariga.
Their offences bordered on conspiracy, involuntary manslaughter and accessary after the fact to murder.
They, however, denied the allegation, claiming that Adole committed suicide by hanging herself in her bedroom.
Following their plea of not guilty, the State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), commenced trial and called eight witnesses to prove the case against the couple.
In her judgment yesterday, the judge held that the prosecution had convincingly proved the charge of manslaughter, conspiracy and attempt to pervert justice and misconduct against Fortune.
While Stephen was convicted of the charge of conspiracy, attempt to pervert justice, and misconduct.
The judge discharged and acquitted a couple of the charges of accessory after the fact to murder and accessory after the fact to felonies.
Justice Ogala said, “the first defendant (Fortune) beat the deceased which caused her death as she had not been feeling well prior to the incident.
“ The court was convinced that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were not only strong but also corroborated the fact that the housemaid died due to beatings by the first defendant.”
The judge further held that the defendants did not inform or call the family of the deceased from 5. 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 to embalm her in the morgue.
According to the court, the second defendant conspired with the first defendant to pervert the course of justice by hanging the body with a rope after finding out that the first defendant had killed the deceased due to the beating.
“The defendants were the last two adults that were in contact with the housemaid before her death. There were three adults in the house. The defendants and the housemaid.”
Justice Ogala said that the hanging of the deceased with rope was staged and the investigation by the police found her body did not depict suicide as her feet were on the floor.
The judge, therefore, sentenced the first defendant to 14 years for involuntary manslaughter and five years for an attempt to pervert the course of justice and misconduct as regards to a corpse.
She ordered that the prison term be run concurrently and sentenced the second defendant to two years imprisonment sequel to the allocates of the defence counsel, Mr Okeh Barrah.