Justice Oyindamola Ogala of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has fixed July 7 to deliver judgement in the trial of a couple, Stephen and Fortune Nwankwo, who are accused of the murder of their housemaid, Joy Adole.
The judge fixed the date for her judgment during Thursday’s proceedings, after both the prosecutor and defence team had adopted their final written addresses.
The couple is facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, involuntary manslaughter and accessory after the fact to murder.
They were accused of killing 19-year-old Adole on April 20, 2020, at their residence located at 18, Ogundola Street, Bariga, Lagos.
But, The Nwankwos denied the allegation, claiming that the deceased committed suicide by hanging herself in her bedroom.
Upon their non-guilty plea, the State’s Directorate of Public Prosecutions, commenced trial and called eight witnesses to prove the case against them.
The couple then filed a no-case submission upon the close of the prosecution’s case on October 12, 2021, which the court dismissed on November 24, 2021 for lack of merit, ordering the defendants to open their defence.
In their defence on January 17, 2022, the couple told the court that the day before she died, Joy was caught with noodles and was beaten because she was fond of stealing foodstuffs at home.
In her testimony, Mrs Nwankwo also stated that the deceased denied stealing the foodstuffs but bought them with her money.
She also told the court that after the incident, she had a discussion with Joy who apologized and agreed not to do such again.
She added that when she asked the maid what she will have for dinner, she said she was not eating till the next day.
“The following morning, I called her while in the kitchen but there was no response, so I went into her room and when I opened the door, I saw her hanging on the ceiling. I screamed and called my husband and told him in our dialect that Joy has killed herself, he screamed too.
“I called one of our neighbors to come to see what happened and after then, my husband put a call to his father and he later went to the police station to report the incident. I was also asked to report at the station and give statements. The police detained me and while in the detention, my DNA, thumbprint, and blood sample were taken.
I was later remanded at Kirikiri prison,” she said.