An Ikeja High Court has sentenced a 30-year-old hotel worker, Jeffrey Ehizojie, to death by hanging for strangling his employer, Olusola Olusoga and the hotel manager, Tunji Omikunle, to death in Lagos.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, Justice Oyindamola Ogala, held that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubts.
Mrs. Ogala found Ehizojie guilty of beating and strangling the Managing Director of Etsahol Hotel and Suites located at Ojodu-Berger, Lagos.
She said the crux of the case of the prosecution was premised on the confessional statement of the convict as well as circumstantial evidence.
According to her, the court had carefully considered the retracted defence statement, (which was admitted as evidence) which showed where Ehizojie stated that one of the hotel staff, Henry, had informed him that he observed that the owner of the hotel kept much money at home.
Mrs Ogala said: “the defendant, in his confessional statement said that Olusoga treated her workers badly so they planned to tie her and collect her money.
“Confessional statement is the best evidence to ground conviction and as held in several cases, it can be relied upon solely where voluntary.
“It is curious that the defendant who was privy to the state of affairs in the hotel told the court that he was shocked when the police informed him of the death of his boss and the manager when he was arrested at Port Harcourt.
“There is no doubt that the defendant was present at the premises of the scene of crime as confirmed by him in his evidence in chief and exhibits before the court,”
The judge held that the court had carefully considered the evidence of the defendant, particularly his account of how he left the hotel premises on Jan. 25, 2019 and his incredible story as to why he did not return to the hotel after the incident nor report at the police station.
She held that the convict had no clear explanation why fled to Port Harcourt the next day until his arrest.
According to her, the circumstantial evidence against the convict was unequivocal, positive and irresistibly pointed to his guilt.
She said: “the court believes that the defendant indeed wrote the confessional statement (exhibit PW2a-c) and his feeble attempt to retract same was to exonerate himself from the commission of the deadly act.
After a careful consideration of the facts in this case, I hereby finds the defendant guilty of the two-count charge against him.
“The sentencing of the court upon you Jeffrey Ehizogie is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead,”
The state prosecution said that Ehizogie and others still at large, strangulated the UK returnee Olusoga, by beating her with a rope.
“They also submitted that the convict strangled and beat omikunle to death.
He then collected a key from his pocket, opened Olusola’s apartment and strangled her to death.
The prosecution called four witnesses, hotel staff, David Nkwor, ASP Chris Akpanomo, ASP Malik Aliyu and Harrison Bruce, against the convict.
The offence contravened the provisions of Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.