A pathologist, S.S. Soyele, told an Ikeja High Court on Tuesday that Ronke Shonde, the banker allegedly murdered by her dockworker husband, Lekan Shonde, had suffered severe brain injuries which led to her death.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Soyele is a medical pathologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
He revealed the results of a post-mortem examination, conducted on Ronke while being led in evidence by Y. G. Oshoala, the lead state prosecutor.
Mr Soyele revealed that it was discovered during the autopsy that the deceased’s brain was heavy, swollen and filled with water and it was highly unlikely that the deceased inflicted the injuries on herself because of the multiplicity of injuries.
“The deceased died from respiratory failure, caused by cerebral edema (swollen brain), caused by a blunt force trauma to the brain,” he said.
“A bruise was found on her left jaw. During the autopsy, it was also discovered that the deceased had black eyes (pupils) a tell-tale sign of brain injury.
“We opened up the body and brought out all the organs. We also opened up the skull to bring out the brain. Blood collection was discovered in the skull, just beneath the skin.
“The deceased’s uterus was also brought out and there was no sign of conception. We took samples from the brain in order to determine the cause of death which primarily was respiratory failure caused by trauma to the brain.”
Mr Soyele, who revealed that he and his team had conducted over 1,000 autopsies, said that Ronke’s autopsy revealed that she had suffered past injuries to her brain.
“We took samples from the brain and discovered old haemorrhage (bleeding) in the brain, which suggests past trauma,” he added.
NAN reports that at the previous court proceedings on September 20, Ronke’s sister, Bolatito Bewaji, revealed during her testimony that Ronke had approached a lawyer to file for divorce on the day she was allegedly murdered by Lekan.
She also revealed to the court a history of domestic violence Ronke had endured from Lekan.
Ms Bewaji, also a banker, said that Lekan was overly possessive of his wife, and would beat her frequently, leaving her with bruises.
“My sister even told me that her husband would lift her up and slam her against the wall, whenever they had an argument,” an emotional witness told the court.
Giving further insight into the couple’s troubled marriage, she revealed that she had advised her sister several times to leave the marriage.
“I was not surprised when I got the call on that fateful day that her lifeless and bloodied body had been found because I knew with the way things were going, he would one day kill her,” she said.
NAN recalls that Mr Shonde, who was arraigned on October 24, 2017 on a charge of murder, had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecution had alleged that Mr Shonde committed the offence at 8.30 p.m. on May 5, 2016 at his residence at No. 3, Tiemo Close, Egbeda, near Lagos.
According to court documents, Mr Shonde was involved in an altercation with his wife, which led to her death.
After Ronke’s death, the dockworker allegedly locked up the home and fled, leaving his spouse’s corpse in the living room.
The alleged crime scene was discovered by neighbours, who heard the cries of their two young children, struggling to “wake up” the lifeless body of their mother.
Mr Shonde was said to have surrendered to the authorities five days later, after an extensive manhunt.
Judge Josephine Oyefeso adjourned the case until October 24 for continuation of trial.
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