A female staff of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, identified Miss Sophia Phillips Horsefall, has been killed by her boyfriend for refusing to make him the next-of-kin to her bank accounts.
The accused, Sotonye Martin, and two others Innocent Oluche and Wachukwu Ugochukwu, were yesterday, arraigned at a Port Harcourt magistrate’s court by Department of State Services, DSS. They were arraigned for stabbing her to death after she had refused to make him, the boyfriend, her next-of-kin to her bank account as well as her refusal to give him one million (N1 million) he had demanded from her. The murder was committed on November 8 this year.
Counsel to the DSS, Mr C. S. Eze, told the court that the first defendant, Mr. Sotonye Martin, lured the deceased, who he had a 13-year-old daughter with, to the house of the second defendant, Innocent Oluche, where he allegedly stabbed her to death. He claimed the first and second defendants later buried the deceased in a shallow grave, noting that they invited the third defendant, Wachukwu Ugochukwu, a spiritualist, to perform some rituals.
According to him, 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.” The accused did not take plea. Chief Magistrate F. Alikor referred the casefile to the state Director of Public Prosecution, saying her court did not have jurisdiction to entertain matters over murder which was second charge.
She remanded the accused in prison custody and adjourned the matter indefinitely. Elder brother to the deceased, Mr Amatu Phillips, while speaking to newsmen, alleged that his sister was murdered by the boyfriend of 13 years, Mr. Martin because of her wealth. He claimed she had some money in her account and confided in the boyfriend who later kept on pestering her for financial support.
According to him, after the sister had allegedly given him money several times, he came again demanding for N1 million which she refused. He alleged that the boyfriend later lured her to his friend’s house, offered her a fruit juice drink which, unknown to the sister, was drugged. He alleged that 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. He claimed 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.