Wednesday, January 23, 2019 11:24 pm
A prosecution witness on Wednesday gave graphic detail of last year’s gruesome killing of Lagos lawyer, Symphorosa Otike-Odibi, by her lawyer wife, Udeme, before an Igbosere High Court, Lagos.
The witness, ASP Olusegun Bamidele, of Homicide Section, State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti, told the court that Udeme, in her statement, confessed to killing her husband and cutting his manhood.
Udeme was arraigned on June 13, 2018 on a two-count charge of murder and misconduct with regard to a corpse by Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Titilayo Shitta-Bey.
According to the prosecutor, Udeme stabbed Symphorosa, also a lawyer, to death and mutilated his corpse by cutting off his genitals on May 3, 2018, at their Diamond Estate, Sangotedo, Lekki, Lagos home.
The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 165 (b) and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Udeme pleaded not guilty amd was remanded in prison custody.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the prosecutor called Bamidele, a police veteran, as the state’s final witness.
Bamidele told the court that as the head of a team that investigated the killing, he personally recorded the defendant’s statement.
He said that Udeme wrote a detailed confessional statement during an interactive session with her in protective custody in the police hospital.
According to him, the defendant was recuperating from what doctors described as “superficial and self-inflicted wounds,” when she made her statement.
He said the defendant spoke freely after identifying herself as a lawyer.
Bamidele said: “While she (Udeme) was writing her statement, it was an interactive session. I put questions to her, she would explain it to me and put it down in writing.
“She stated in her statement that she was married to the late Symphorosa and that they were having marital issues.
“She stated that the deceased was having extra-marital affairs and whenever she raised the issue with him, his responses were not satisfactory, he appeared nonchalant.
“She said that on May 2, 2018, she was preparing to travel to United Kingdom when she checked the bedside locker for her marriage certificate. When she could not find it, she went to the deceased where he lay on the bed and asked him about it but there was no response, the response given was not okay.
“She had a discussion with him and there was hot exchange of words, which made her to go to the kitchen and get a frying pan and knife.
“When she returned to where the deceased lay, she hit him on the head with the frying pan and said ‘Tell me, what is in your mind that you are withholding.
“She stated that the deceased called his mother to report her conduct. She continued to hit the deceased on the head again and again. Finally, she confirmed that she used the knife to stab the deceased in his abdomen.
“She also said while the deceased was lying on his back, she was still angry. She sat beside him, looking at his intestines coming out of the deceased and said: ‘If this your penis is the one that is giving you license to have the feeling of another person, it’s better we cut it off,’ she proceeded to do so with the same knife she used in stabbing him and hanged a piece of the penis in his right hand”.
Bamidele explained that later that night, Udeme sent her “close friend” Maureen Offor, a WhatsApp message which read: “I have done something terrible.”
The witness said further investigation showed that she sent two other WhatsApp messages, firstly to the husband of the deceased’s younger sister, Charles Akpoguma, which read: “Just pray for us. May God forgive.”
He said the last message was to her mother in Calabar the same night. It read: “Sorry mum, we engaged in a fight.”
However, things took a more graphic turn when the prosecution played pictures of the defendant on a hospital bed after the incident and her bloodied deceased husband on his deathbed.
Shitta-Bey also tendered, through Bamidele, several exhibits recovered from the defendant.
They included a big, shiny frying pan allegedly used by the defendant on the deceased, a blood covered kitchen knife Udeme allegedly used in killing Symphorosa, a blood stained pen, four phones, two of which were blood stained, Udeme’s Nigerian and British passports.
But when the prosecutor sought to tender the two statements which Udeme allegedly made to the police, her counsel, Mr Olusegun Banjoko, opposed the admissibility of the statements.
Banjoko prayed the court not to admit the statements as evidence, adding that they were not made in the presence of the defendant’s lawyer as required by law.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye adjourned until Feb. 25 to consider the admissibility of the statements in a trial within trial.