A Dane, Peter Nielsen has been sentenced to death.byJustice Bolanle Okikiolu- Ighile of a Lagos High Court in Igbosere.
Nielsen according to the court would die by hanging as a judgement for killing his wife, Zainab, and daughter, Petra.
The 54 year old man was convicted by the judge on 2-counts charge of murder brought against him by Lagos State Government.
He was sentenced to death on both counts. Nielsen was on June 13, 2018, arraigned by the Lagos State government on a two-count charge of murder. He was accused of smothering his wife and daughter to death about 3:45am, on April 5, 2018, at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island, Ikoyi. He however denied the alleged offence upon his arraignment, following which trial commenced. Testifying before the court, a Consultant Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa, disclosed that Zainab and Petra died of head injuries and asphyxia (or suffocation) that was not self-inflicted.
Obafunwa said” the post-mortem examination of Zainab’s corpse suggested that she was killed when her nose and mouth were forcibly closed which deprived her of oxygen.
“She had also suffered bruises around her head which were consistent with blunt force trauma that were not enough to cause any fracture.
“Evidence showed that the deceased struggled to free herself from her killer’s grip using her hands and nails.
The result of a DNA analysis of Zainab’s nail clipping revealed the presence of her DNA material and that of an individual described as Peter”, the witness revealed.
The prosecution team led by Ms. Titilayo Shitta Bay concluded its case against Nielsen on September 20, 2019. The defendant later filed a no-case submission arguing that the prosecution had failed to link him with the alleged deaths. While urging the court to discharge and acquit him of the alleged offence, Nielsen particularly noted that an important prosecution exhibit was missing.
The defendant had based his no-case motion on a missing piece of critical evidence said to have been destroyed during the burning down of the Igbosere High Court. Defence lawyer, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), had prayed the court to free his client because the exhibit, Nielsen’s late wife’s nightgown containing DNA evidence, was missing. The silk argued that the nightgown the woman wore the night she was killed could no longer be found in the court’s record due to the burning of the court by hoodlums who hijacked the October 2020 #EndSARS protest.
He said substantial justice could not be done in the absence of the exhibit. However, in her ruling on the no-case submission, Justice Ighile held that both prosecution and defence have called witnesses and tendered exhibits which were not premised on the said exhibit.
The judge consequently ordered Nielsen to open his defence while dismissing the no-case motion. In his defence.
Nielsen affirmed his testimony that he did not kill his wife and daughter. He said he only found them dead after waking up from his sleep on the morning of the incident. He added that all his efforts to revive them were abortive. “I remember that Thursday, 5th of April, 2018, was an Easter vacation day. When I woke up, I was looking for Zainab and Petra from the balcony overlooking the field in the Estate,” Nielsen said.