TVC E. Three men, Sotonye Martin, Innocent Oluche and Wachukwu Ugochukwu were Wednesday arraigned before a Port Harcourt Magistrate’s Court by the Department of State Services, DSS, for allegedly stabbing a female staff of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Miss Sophia Phillips Horsefall.
Martin, a lover to the deceased, reportedly stabbed her to death on November 8 after she had refused to make him her next-of-kin to her bank account as well as her refusal to give him N1m he had demanded from her.
The counsel to the DSS, Mr. C. S. Eze, speaking before Chief Magistrate F. Alikor, said the first defendant, Mr. Sotonye Martin, lured the deceased, who he had a 13-year-old daughter for, to the house of the second defendant, Innocent Oluche, where he allegedly stabbed her to death.
Eze claimed the first and second defendants – Martin and Oluche later buried the deceased in a shallow grave.
According to him, they invited the third defendant, Ugochukwu, a spiritualist, to perform some rituals.
He said, “The accused were brought before the court on a three-count charge which included stabbing to death with a jack knife and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316 and punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Law, Laws of Rivers State 1999.”
However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty.
The Chief Magistrate said the court had no jurisdiction to entertain matters of murder which was the second charge.
She, however, referred the case file to the state Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
Alikor adjourned the matter indefinitely, ordering that the accused persons be remanded in prison custody.
The elder brother to the deceased, Mr. Amatu Phillips, disclosed to newsmen that his sister had some money in her account and confided in the boyfriend, Mr. Martin, who later kept on pestering her for financial support.
He insisted that his sister was murdered by the boyfriend of 13 years because of her wealth, claiming that the boyfriend had before that day persuaded his sister to change the name of her next of kin on her bank details to his name.
He said, “After she gave him money several times, he came again demanding for N1m which she refused.
“Martin later lured her to his friend’s house, offered her a fruit juice drink which, unknown to her, was drugged. When the boyfriend noticed that she was dizzy from effect of the drug, he stabbed her on the neck, demanding her ATM card and password.”