A police witness, Sgt. Adeola Lawal, told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos that a hairdresser, Funmilayo Odunlade, dumped the corpse of her 13-year-old son, Tunde Sunmola, in a canal after the boy died of an illness sometime in 2014.
Lawal made the revelation on Thursday while being led in evidence by the prosecution led by Mr Adebayo Haroun.
According to him, the defendant on Aug. 2, 2014 at 6.00 a.m. dumped the corpse of her son in the canal after he died from an undisclosed illness.
“She dumped the corpse of her biological son in a canal at Mowe in Ogun on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“After she gave me her statement being a mother also, I immediately swung into action by trying to locate the corpse of the boy.
“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 Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice,’’ Lawal said.
The 36-year-old Odunlade 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.
Lawal, who is the Investigating Officer in the case, said that on Aug. 7, 2014 the case was transferred to the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba.
“The complainant was one Mrs Wuraola Sunmola, the former mother-in-law to the defendant and we summoned the defendant who volunteered to give a written statement.
`The defendant said the deceased had called her to say he was being beaten and maltreated by his father, her ex-husband in Ijebu-ode, Ogun, and wanted to come to Lagos for a holiday.
“The defendant then brought the late Tunde to Lagos and kept him with her sister one Yemi Odunlade at Mowe, Lagos for the holiday.’’
Lawal said that while Tunde was at his aunt’s place he complained of pains in the leg which made his mother go to Ijebu-ode to inform her former mother-in-law and to solicit for financial assistance for medical attention.
“Her mother-in-law gave her N3, 000 cash, drugs and some foodstuff for the deceased and she returned to Lagos,’’ Lawal said.
Lawal further told the court that a few days after the trip, Oduntan received news from her sister that Tunde had died.
“Immediately she heard the news, she made a trip to Ijebu-Ode to inform the complainant about the death of Tunde.
“Her mother-in-law upon receiving the bad news got a bus and three men to go to Lagos with the defendant to retrieve Tunde’s corpse,” Lawal added.
She said that the trip was terminated half 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, on her own.
“She said when she got to her sister’s home, she was in a state of confusion and so she 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 into a canal.
“I and my team took the defendant to Mowe to retrieve the body, but our efforts were futile because the defendant claimed she could not remember the exact place where she dumped 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 made 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.’’
Justice Sedotan Ogunsanya agreed with the prosecution’s request and ordered that a trial- within-trial should be held on the next date of adjournment.
The case has been adjourned to Oct. 27 for a trial-within-trial.