Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Woman faints on hearing death sentence passed on her for stabbing neighbour


A 36-year-old woman, Stella Gilbert, has been sentenced to death by Ikeja high court on Tuesday, for stabbing her neighbour to death, Mrs Stella Godwin, during a fight at their residence in Ajegunle, Lagos.

She collapsed on hearing the judge read her sentence, amidst tears from her friends, siblings and well-wishers… the law enforcement agents took her, infact, they carried her as she collapsed in the Court room back to the prison waiting for her execution time.

The judge found her guilty of a one count charge of murder brought against her by the Lagos State government. Stella had stabbed Stella to death during an argument on June 22, 2013 at No. 59, Ojora Street, Ajegunle, Lagos. The offence contravened Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.

While delivering the judgment yesterday, the judge held that the prosecution proved the murder case against the defendant with overwhelming evidence that during a fight with her neighbour, the defendant stabbed the deceased to death in the chest with a knife, adding that the defendant herself confessed that she only stabbed the deceased once. The knife was also tendered as exhibit.

Justice Adebiyi further held that the defendant’s testimony contradicted her confessional statement. “The defendant testimony was that she was attacked by the deceased, and it amounted to self-defence. She did not prove that she was in a free-for-all when she stabbed the deceased. From the evidence, the fight took place in a room, though no evidence was given of the size of the room, it could not have been a very large room. The evidence was that the deceased and defendant lived in a house consisting of rooms occupied by families, popularly called ‘face me I face you’.

“As an aside, it is worrying that the level of violence, unnecessary animosity and death which occurs among our citizens as a result of living together in close proximity without sufficient personal space and boundaries remain unabated. There is clearly a need to improve social housing and living conditions.

“The court hopes that this message will be conveyed to the necessary authorities through the prosecutors who have the responsibility to prosecute these cases.”

In his allocutus, the convict’s counsel pleaded that the court should temper justice with mercy and be given an opportunity of a second chance, since she has lost both parents and has gone through a lot in prison.

But the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Opeyemi Olugasa, said the law gives mandatory sentence and punishment to offenders, urging the court to sentence her accordingly.

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