A Lagos High Court in Igbosere yesterday sentenced a 25-year-old houseboy, Leudjou Koyemen Joel (aka William Smith) to death by hanging for killing his employer.
He murdered Dayo Enioluwa Adeleke, the daughter of the late Brig.-Gen. Adekola Alfred Adeleke, on December 20, 2016.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye convicted Joel, after a nearly two-year trial which followed his not guilty plea to a one-count charge of murder.
The defendant, a refugee from Cameroon, had testified that Adeleke mistakenly stabbed herself after she fell while pursuing him with a kitchen knife.
Justice Akintoye held: “All the evidence points to the defendant. I find merit in the prosecution’s case.”
The police, on December 30, 2016, brought Joel before Chief Magistrate Oluyemisi Adelaja of an Ebute-Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos.
Following his remand, the case was transferred to the High Court where Joel was arraigned on January 19, 2017 on a one-count charge of murder, in accordance with Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Kazeem Adeniji (SAN) told Justice Akintoye that the defendant committed the offence on December 20 at about 9:30pm.
He said on that day, Joel asked for a two-week salary advance, but the late Adeleke turned him down.
Later that day (at night), shortly after Adeleke returned from work, Joel repeated his demand. Again, she declined.
He got angry and stabbed Adeleke in the neck and heart.
He was apprehended at the gate of the deceased’s Park View Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos while attempting to flee.
The court heard that the victim was found lying on the floor of her living room in a pool of blood. A kitchen knife was found stuck in the left side of her chest. She was taken to St. Nicholas Hospital on Lagos Island, where a doctor confirmed her dead.
Adeleke was killed seven months after Joel was employed and three months after her engagement to her fiancé.
Joel, who opened his defence on November 21, 2018, denied killing Adeleke. He spoke through a French translator.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Mr. C. Acnonye, he confirmed that before the incident, he approached his boss twice to pay him part of his salary as his child was ill in Cameroon and he needed money for hospital bills.
He said the first time he asked for part payment of his salary was on December 16, the second time was December 18, two days before Adeleke was killed.
He stated that on the day of the incident, after cleaning her apartment, he knelt and pleaded with her to give him a loan, “but she became upset and started shouting and screaming at me. So I thought it was the situation in her office that was making her to shout.”
He told Justice Akintoye that Adeleke suddenly stood up and began to speak a language he did not understand.
The defendant claimed that his employer pushed him and he fell. She started beating him on his head, so he closed his eyes.
He said: “I was perceiving smell of alcohol. When I opened my eyes, I saw her with a knife, then I tried to run away. But she was rushing towards me.
“When I got to the entrance door, I noticed that she was no longer running after me but kept screaming. When I turned, I saw that she fell on the floor, with the knife in her chest.”