A police witness, Sgt. Adeola Lawal, on Thursday, narrated before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, how a hairdresser, Funmilayo Odunlade dumped the corpse of her 13-year-old son, Tunde Sunmola into a canal.
While being led-in evidence by the prosecution, Mr. Adebayo Haroun, the witness, revealed that the defendant, dumped the corpse of her own son, Tunde into a canal located at Mowe in Lagos.
“We swung into action so as to locate the deceased corpse, immediately I obtained her statement.
“All efforts to locate Tunde’s body proved abortive and we charged her to court and thereafter forwarded her case file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice” Lawal said.
According to the prosecutor, the 36- year-old mother of No 17, Emmanuel St., Maryland, Lagos, is facing a charge of misconduct relating to corpses which is contrary to Section 163 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
It was also alleged that on Aug. 2, 2014 at 6am, the defendant dumped the corpse of her child into ta canal after he passed away from an undisclosed illness.
The police witness who was the Investigating Officer in the case also told the court how she handled the case.
According to her: “a case of murder of one Tunde Sunmola, aged 13 was transferred to my department at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, on Aug. 7, 2014 at 5pm, Yaba.
“One Mrs. Wuraola Sunmola the former mother-in-law to the defendant was the compliant and we summoned the defendant who volunteered to give a written statement.
“The defendant said the deceased had called her that he was being beaten and maltreated by his father, her ex-husband in Ijebu-ode, Ogun State, he told his mother that he wanted to come to Lagos for a holiday.
“When Tunde got to Lagos, she took him to her sister’s house, one Yemi Odunlade at Mowe, Lagos to spend his holiday.”
The police officer noted that when Tunde was at his aunt’s home he contracted an undisclosed ailment.
“Tunde complained of leg pains and his mother went to Ijebu-ode to see her former Mother-in-law for financial assistance in treating his illness.
“Her mother-in-law gave her N3, 000 cash, drugs and some foodstuff for the deceased and she returned to Lagos” she said.
Lawal further told the court that some days after the trip, Oduntan received news from her sister that her son had passed away.
“Immediately she heard the news, she made a trip to Ijebu-ode to inform the mother-in-law about the death of Tunde.
“Her mother-in-law, upon receiving the bad news, got a bus and in the company of three men and the defendant, travelled to bring Tunde’s corpse to Lagos” Lawal said.
“The trip was abandoned on the way by the driver and the three men because of heavy traffic.
“The driver and the men headed back to Ijebu-ode leaving the defendant behind and she headed to Mowe, Lagos, on her own.
“She said when she got to her sister’s home, she was in a state of confusion and along with her sister, hired a motorcyclist to convey the corpse from the house.
“The motorcyclist conveyed the corpse of the deceased and his mother, and on the way, she told the motorcyclist to drop her and the corpse at an undisclosed location where she dumped the body of her son into a canal” she said.
The police officer said that the body of Tunde was never retrieved because the mother said she could not remember where she duped the body.
After Lawal had given her testimony, the prosecutor sought to tender the confessional statement of Oduntan as evidence.
The defence led by Mr. K.O Adebisi of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), however, objected to Oduntan’s statement being tendered as evidence because it was involuntary.
“My Lord, I am objecting to the admissibility of the statement of the defendant because it was given involuntarily.
“She was taken to the police station in handcuffs, threatened and not cautioned by the police as to her right to have a counsel present” Oduntan said.
The prosecution, however, maintained that the statement was made voluntarily.
“We are ready to prove that the statement was made voluntarily and we are calling for a trial within trial to prove that the statement was voluntary” Haroun said.
Justice Sedotan Ogunsanya agreed with the prosecution’s request and ordered that a trial within a trial should be held on the next adjourned date.
The trial is adjourned to Oct. 27 for trial within trial.