• Absence of Evans’ lawyer stalls trial
A Lagos High Court in Igbosere yesterday heard that a Danish national, Peter Nielsen, once threatened to kill his 37-year-old Nigerian wife, Zainab, also known as Alizee, and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Petra, while drunk before they were allegedly murdered at their Banana Island home in Ikoyi, Lagos. Nielsen was alleged of the murder of his wife and daughter at their residence at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island Ikoyi at about 3:45a.m. on April 5, 2018.
A prosecution witness, Daniel Simon Joel, told Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile that the late Zainab was afraid her husband, who he called ‘Oga’, was “running mad.” The court also heard that Nielsen made the threat in August 2017 and was arrested but afterwards released by the police.At the last hearing of the matter on June 13, the court authorised the Lagos State government to obtain Nielsen’s blood for DNA analysis.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, Joel, who identified himself as Nielsen’s former driver, testified as the prosecution’s first witness. During his examination by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem SAN, Joel narrated how the incident occurred.He said around 1:00a.m. on an unspecified day in August 2017, the late Zainab woke him from sleep and asked for his help to get security officials. “She came to the drivers’ lodge at Bella Vista Tower, banging on the door and calling me. She said I should call the security guards, that Mr. Peter was running mad at her, that he wanted to kill her.
“I opened the door, I saw Mrs. Zainab standing with Petra. She showed me her face, that Oga wanted to kill her. Then I called security; they responded that they received a call earlier. Then we all went to the house. We saw Mr. Peter in the house. Madam was telling us that Mr. Peter wanted to kill her so she did not want to stay with him anymore, that the marriage was over.”
According to him, the police soon arrived and arrested Nielsen, but he was released afterwards.Joel said he was in Kaduna in April when he received phone calls that Zainab and Petra had been killed.Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Olasupo Shasore, a former Lagos Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, the witness said Nielsen told him he had been drinking the night he threatened his wife.
Shasore asked: “Did Nielsen say anything to you?” to which the witness answered: “He told me that he was drunk. When Mr. Peter saw us heading to the house, he came to meet us. That was when he told me, ‘Daniel, I am drunk.’” He said that he saw the deceased smoke cigarettes but that he never saw the defendant take Cocaine.
On the relationship between the deceased and the defendant, the driver said he did not know anything about their relationship adding that he got to know of Zainab’s death through one of the security men at Bella Vista Tower, in Banana Island, named Festus.
“Festus called and told me what happened. He said my madam was dead, but didn’t tell me how she died. After receiving series of calls, I took a taxi to Abuja from Kaduna, and then flight to Lagos, I got to Bella Vista around 2:00p.m. and saw ambulance taking Mrs. Zainab to the hospital. I then took an Okada to the hospital and met the deceased’s mother, Mrs. Ruth Madaki there.”
Earlier the defendant’s counsel brought two applications dated October 5, before the court, seeking approval to obtain medical samples from the prosecution to enable the defence carry out an independent DNA test and to grant them access to the crime scene, as it was under lock and key. Both applications were granted.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile adjourned till today for continuation of trial, while the defendant was remanded in prison custody. Nielsen was arraigned by the state government on June 13 on a two-count charge of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Nielsen, who has been on remand in prison custody since April 11, pleaded not guilty. The defendant’s remand on April 11, was by a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos following an application by the police.
Meanwhile, the scheduled trial of suspected kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, before a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere was yesterday stalled due to the absence of his lawyer, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajanaku, in court.
When the matter was called yesterday before Justice Adedayo Akintoye, the court was informed that Ajanaku was not in court as he had sent a letter to notify the court that he would not be available and asked for an adjournment.
Evans is currently facing two separate charges, bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder brought against him by the state government. In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside three others: Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba, while he is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba in the second charge.The trial judge subsequently adjourned continuation of trial till October 24, 2018.