Electrician sentenced to death for murder of woman [...who invited him to repair electrical faults at her residence]

An electrician, Abdulkadiri Issa, was on Wednesday sentenced to death by a Lagos High Court in Ikeja for the murder of Mrs. Catherine Kate-Amadi in Ebute-Meta, Lagos in October 2006.

Thirty-one-year-old Issa was found guilty of stabbing Kate-Amadi to death with a kitchen knife in her residence, where he had been invited to repair electrical faults.

Issa was said to have locked himself up with the corpse of the deceased in the house where policemen said they found him hiding in the toilet.

Justice Iyabo Kasali, relying on circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution, said Issa was guilty of the murder. 

She said, “There are contradictions in the evidence of the defendant along with Exhibit P4 which is the statement of the defendant. “The evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3 is credible, irresistible and I find that the defendant killed the deceased.

“The prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The defendant is hereby sentenced to death by hanging.”

The defence counsel, Mr. Yemi Omodele, had urged the court to discharge and acquit his client, on the basis that the case of the prosecution, led by A.O Bajulaye, was only based on suspicion.

He faulted the prosecution’s case for failing to tender any medical evidence to establish the “act or omission” of the accused which led to the death of the victim.

Though the third prosecution witness, PW3, Investigating Police Officer, Patrick Nnadi, said autopsy was conducted on the deceased, no evidence relating to the autopsy was given in court.

The prosecution conceded that the Consultant Pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. John Obafunwa, was unable to give evidence in the case due to his appointment as “Vice-Chancellor and other administrative issues.”

Omodele also said the evidence of the first and second prosecution witnesses, PW1, Chief T.I Enyinma, the deceased’s cousin; and PW2, Charles Osuagwu, the deceased’s brother-in-law, was only based on hearsay.

The lawyer said the person who first informed Enyinma of the murder of the deceased before he (Enyinma) contacted Osuagwu to visit the house of the deceased, was unknown. He argued that it was untenable to convict an accused simply because he was found at the scene of a crime.

Omodele had argued that “it is unheard” that a person who killed would lock himself in the same room where he committed the crime. He urged the court to believe his client, who he said was “unshaken” under cross-examination.

Issa had, in his testimony, told the court that he used to go to the deceased’s flat to help her with electrical repairs. He said he could remember that on the day of the incident, he was slapped by one of the two men sitting with the deceased at the time she went into the house.

Issa said he slumped and that by the time he regained consciousness he found people in the house surrounding the deceased in her pool of blood.

He was arraigned on December 7, 2009 on one-count of murder said to have been committed on October 30, 2006.