The trial of 53-year-old Lekan Shonde, who has been in prison custody since 2016 after his wife, Ronke Shonde died during a fight at their home in the Egbeda area of Lagos state, continued at the Ikeja Hiogh Court yesterday October 24th.
At the resumed hearing, Lekan, a dock worker, told the court that he never killed his wife but that he only slapped her during an argument.
While standing in the witness box, Shonde who was led in evidence by his counsel, Robert Clarke (SAN), told the court how the mother of his two kids, was having an extramarital affair with a certain Kayode and how he overhead her talking on the phone with hime on May 6th 2016.
“On the said day, I got into the compound, I climbed the staircase to my sitting room and I overheard Adunni speaking on phone, saying ‘Kayode you are sweet o, what did you use in sleeping with me?’ I slapped her from behind and she fell forward and hit her head on the wall, she later stood up and held me and she said she was sorry, she went to the room to change and went to have her bath.. Earlier, she had called me informing me that on my way home, I should buy moi-moi (steamed beans) and pap for our dinner. She told me that the nanny had prepared Indomie for the kids.
After she had her bath, she asked what I will eat with the moi-moi and I told her that I will have garri (dried cassava flakes) while she had her moi-moi with pap. Afterwards she told me she was going downstairs while I told her I was going to sleep, I later came out and saw her lying on the couch and she told me she will join me later in the bedroom,’’ he said.
According to him, the next day while on his way to work, he met Ronke on the couch with her phone beside her. He dropped some money beside her and left for work. It was while at work that one of his cousin’s visited him and informed him of his wife’s death.
“In my place of work we do not go in with our phones because it is a depot, we drop our phones with the security. Around 1 or 2pm, I went to check my phone my battery was dead because the previous night there was no light in the house. At 4pm, I saw my cousin, he came to the depot to see me and he informed me that my father sent him to me that Adunni is dead and I said which Adunni? “This was during the era when trailers blocked the roads to Apapa and I didn’t get to Oshodi until 9.30 pm that night and I went straight to see my father and some elders. When he informed me about my wife’s death, I could not believe it, I said it is a lie.’’ Shonde said
While being cross-examined by Mr Y. G Oshoala, the lead State Prosecutor, Shonde revealed that he was 51 years old at the time of his wife’s death while Ronke was 39 years old while their son and daughter were six and five years old respectively. He denied taking away his wife’s phone on the day of the incident and writing the police statement that was presented in court, adding that he could not read the statement aloud because he had bad eyesight. Oshoala said:
“This is not the first time you knew your wife was going out with Kayode, you put it in your statement that Kayode had been to your house. If you truly loved your wife, you would have left immediately for your home when you heard of her passing but you did not appear until days later. Would you be surprised that the autopsy reveals brain injuries, hemorrhage, damage to the neck and so many injuries? “I put it to you that your normal habit was to lock the door, beat your wife and hit her head on the wall, I also put it to you that she was going to divorce you. There must be a lot of force for a grown adult to fall down from a mere slap as you claimed, is that how you treat the woman you love? You didn’t go to the police on the second day after the incident as claimed, you went after the sixth day,’’
Responding to the claims by the lead defence counsel, Shonde said denied his deceased wife was seeking a divorce and ever physically abusing her. Asked why he did not go home immediately to see the corpse of his wife after hearing of her death, Shonde said
“I did not go to the house because my 88-year-old father said that from what he heard, people can do something unpalatable to me, so my family went to the house on my behalf. By the second or third day, I turned myself in to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS). Before God and man, Adunni had no plans to divorce me, I do not habitually beat her, I was furious when I heard her speaking to Kayode and I slapped her,’’.
Also led in as witness was Shola Adamolekun, the nanny to the Shonde family and sixth prosecution witness. During her cross examination, Adamolekun narrated how she found the corpse of the deceased.
“I resumed work in the morning at 6am, the gate to the house was usually left open for me by the defendant when he leaves for work early in the morning so that I don’t disturb the people living downstairs. On May 5, 2016, my salary was paid and on the next day (May 6) I went to work and I met the gate locked which was unusual; I knocked several times and got no response. I could not get the someone to open the gate and I went to the neighbour to alert her to open the gate and while talking to the neighbour, Temi (Ronke’s son) heard my voice and shouted ‘Grandma, Grandma’. “I heard him and said ‘Temi where are you?’ he said ‘see me I’m here’ I asked ‘where is your mummy?’ and he said his mummy is in the parlour and that he had been waking her up but she is not responding.’’
According to Adamolekun, she called Shonde when she suspected that Ronke had died. He promised to return home immediately but he never did.
“They told me that from what they could see, my boss could be dead, I called Daddy Temi (Shonde) to inform him that they could not gain access to the home; he said he was coming but he never came. There was a cousin of Mummy Temi (Ronke) who was there and he also assured me that the defendant will come. My boss was lying on her back on the floor, remembering how she looked that day does not give me joy, I did not have a key to the house and only my boss and her husband had keys to the house,’’ she said.
She added that when she spoke with the children, they told her they had no idea what happened to their mum as they were sleeping.
“I do not usually know what goes on in the house after I close from work and on that day, the children said they have been trying to wake their mummy but she was unresponsive,’’ she said.
Recall that last month, a pathologist with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr S.S. Soyele, revealed that the deceased died from severe brain injury.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso adjourned the case until November 30th for submission of final written addresses.