7th July, 2011
“Despite all efforts by spiritualists to ensure my son does not die, he has been taken from me. I am finished. Please have mercy on my son,â€ were the agonising cries of a mother whose son was on Wednesday sentenced to death.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict, Thomas Dafe, was sentenced to death by hanging for killing his girlfriend.
Justice Morenike Obadina of the Lagos High Court on Wednesday found the accused guilty for stabbing his late girlfriend, Stella Bob-Manuel, to death with a penknife for daring to end their relationship.
Dafe, 29, was charged in 2007 with the murder of his girlfriend after she said she was no longer interested in the relationship.
According to the prosecution, the accused and the deceased, who lived together while in the university, took a blood oath of undying love for each other.
â€œAfter she decided to end the relationship, the accused visited her home in Surulere to plead with her to reconsider and remind her of their blood oath.
â€œWhen she refused to budge, he stabbed her to death with the knife he found in her compound and also stabbed himself,â€ the prosecution said.
NAN reports that during arraignment in 2007, the accused did not take a plea, as all he said was â€œI donâ€™t knowâ€ when the charge was read to him.
However, in the course of the trial, Dafe confessed to the crime but claimed he did not have the intention to kill the deceased.
Obadina had ordered that the accused be taken to a psychiatric hospital to ensure that he was fit for trial.
The reports from the hospital confirmed his fitness but stated that he was under the influence of marijuana and constantly experienced hallucinations.
In her judgment, the judge said “the fact that the accused had a penknife with him and jammed the door when he entered the deceasedâ€™s house established intention.
â€œI find the accused Thomas Dafe guilty of the offence as charged and I will hear allocutus from his counsel,â€ she said.
Counsel to the accused, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, Director of the Office of the Public Defender, pleaded for leniency as the accused did not have any previous history of criminal conviction.
However, the judge held that it was a very unfortunate event when parents labour to send their children to school and they engaged in mindless behaviour.
â€œI hold, therefore, that pursuant to Sections 309 and 311 of the Criminal Code, I sentence you, Thomas Dafe, to death by hanging,â€ she said.