JUSTICE is usually delayed but when it eventually comes, it is sweet, refreshing, calms frayed nerves but leaves an unforgettable remembrance in the psyche of the victim’s family, relations and acquaintances. –
Three years ago (2016), a 22-year-old student of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State, Chukwudi Onweniwe, strangled his girlfriend, Nifemi Adeyeoye, to death after raping her in a farm in Ogbese, Akure North area.
He was later charged to court in 2017.
Chukwudi confessed to the police then that “l only killed her for the fun of it”. While Chukwudi was a part-time student of the Department of Science and Laboratory Technology (SLT), Nifemi was an HND student in the same institution.
On the fateful day, he reportedly took his deceased “to a farm near Alayere, Ogbese, raped her and then snuffed life out of her by choking her.” Narrating how he killed her three years ago in his confession, Chukwudi, whose parents are farmers in Ayede-Ogbese community in the state, said: “I invited her from Owo to Akure and, after introducing her to my parents, I lured her into a bush and strangled her, leaving her body in the bush. “On the second day, I asked a commercial motorcycle rider to take me to the bush where I had left her. I observed that she was not dead, I used a stone to hit her head repeatedly and she died immediately. “My parents became curious when they did not see her and I was arrested by the police. “I did not remove any part of her body; I only killed her for the fun of it. I made love to her in the bush before killing her. I am not a cultist. It was when I killed her that I realized I made a big mistake and I wept bitterly. “The devil pushed me into killing her.” Fast-forward – killer boyfriend sentenced to death by hanging for rape and murder Last week, the killer boyfriend was sentenced to death by hanging by the court for the murder of his girlfriend. Chukwudi was brought before the High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, on May 22, 2017 on a four-count charge of endangering life, kidnapping and abduction, rape and murder.
The prosecutor, Jumoke Ogunjebi, told the court that the accused person abducted the deceased and took her “to a farm near Alayere, Ogbese, raped her and then snuffed life out of her by choking and strangulating her to death”. A police officer, Inspector John Aderibigbe, who gave evidence in the case, quoted a motorcyclist as reporting the suspicious movement of the accused person and the deceased. Aderibigbe said, “It was a motorcyclist who reported the suspicious movement of the accused person and the deceased at the police station”. Witnesses Five witnesses were called in the matter and, while testifying, the mother of the deceased, Mrs Adeyeoye, said her daughter, on the fateful day, told her she was visiting a friend and did not come back home only for her to be invited by the police to recognise her corpse in the morgue after she got missing. The mother, who claimed not know the accused person, however, said he was her daughter’s lover. She said, “l did not see my daughter after she went missing until policemen invited me to come to the mortuary to identify a corpse whether it was that of my daughter or not.” Two motorcyclists who saw the lovebirds together on the day the murder was committed equally testified that they conveyed them to a spot in Akure. Equally giving evidence in the case, Chukwudi’s father, Nwosu Onweniwe, confirmed to the court that the deceased was his son’s girlfriend. Nwosu confessed that the deceased had been very helpful to his son.
The trial Judge, Justice Samuel Bola, while reviewing the case, said that an autopsy, which was conducted by one Dr. Pelemo, a staff member of Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, described the abnormal state of the deceased’s neck and fracture of the skull. Justice Bola said “it suggested that the deceased had been attacked with an object with a blunt edge which led to her death”. He added that the accused person had confessed to the police, according to the testimony of one Ayoola Famoriyo, and had taken his team to the spot where he hid the corpse of the deceased. “There, the accused person had pointed to the spot where he kept the corpse and it was taken to the mortuary while the stone found near her head with which he had purportedly hit her skull was taken to the police station as an exhibit”, the trial judge said. “Famoriyo had further testified that a search of the accused person’s room had revealed the deceased’s belongings such as a school bag, wallet, some GNLD products, her phone and 22 passport photographs”.
Delivering judgement after examining the facts of the case exhaustively, Justice Bola said that the prosecution had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt in three out of the four-count charge. He observed that the prosecution failed to prove the case of rape against the accused person. “Though there was no witness which stated that the accused person was the one who actually committed the murder, circumstantial evidence points to the fact that he had indeed committed the crime”, the judge said. “The circumstances were that he was last seen with the deceased according to the testimonies of the motorcyclists and the belongings of the deceased were found in his room”. He therefore found the accused guilty as charged on three counts and sentenced him.
Bola said, “On the count of kidnapping you are sentenced to life imprisonment, on strangulating and choking, you are sentenced to death by hanging and, on murder, you are also sentenced to death by hanging”.