By Onozure Dania
Lagos—A Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, yesterday, sentenced a Béninoise house help, Christian Hounvenon Yavine, to death by hanging for murdering a 78-year-old woman, Mariam Atinuke Abiola.
Yavine was accused of killing his employer’s 78-year-old mother on July 1, 2014, at the daughter’s house.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye found Yavine 23, guilty of the offence of murder and sentenced him to death by hanging.
The convict allegedly severed Abiola’s neck with a knife while she was asleep in her daughter’s Ipaja, Lagos home.
Abiola was the mother of Ajoke Ashiwonyi Abiola, Yavine’s employer, who was away to a church vigil when the incident occurred.
After a trial that lasted for over three years, Justice Ipaye dismissed Yavine’s defences, including a claim that he was 14 years old at the time of the offence, having been born in the year 2000.
The judge held that there was ample corroborative evidence that falsified his claim.
She noted that the prosecution’s evidence showed that at the time of the murder, Yavine was seeking admission to a university, and would have registered to sit an entrance exam, but for financial challenges.
The judge said: “It was unlikely that the defendant was seeking university admission at 14 years old. The birth certificate obtained by Lagos State Government from Yavine’s alleged birth hospital in Benin Republic showed that he was born in 1996.”
She also considered Yavine’s claim that the confessional statement tendered by the government against him, was contrived by the police.
The convict had claimed that being a French speaker, he could not have made the statement, which was written in English, a language he did not understand.
Justice Ipaye observed that Yavine lived with the deceased for two weeks and also went to the market with her, wondering what language he spoke with her if he truly did not understand English.
Furthermore, the judge held that the deceased was also caught by the doctrine of last seen.