An Ikeja high court on Wednesday sentenced a 27-year-old woman, Blessing Edet, to 10 years imprisonment  for stabbing her fiancé, Edet Ebong,  33,  to death during a fight over her refusal to wear an engagement ring  he gave her.

Edet was arraigned on July 5, 2017 on a lone count charge of murder before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo by Lagos State.

The prosecution,  Mr F. Oyedale had alleged that Edet committed the offence on August 18, 2015 at about  12.15 am at her residence  at No. 1, Falana Street, Ogombo, Lekki, Lagos.

During trial, the prosecution called five witnesses including the sister to the deceased, Esther Ebong, a medical doctor and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) while Blessing testified in her defence.

Blessing had told the court that the deceased came to her apartment at midnight, woke her up and requested her to cook a meal for him.

She said she refused to do so because she was tired.

The convict said that the late Ebong then went into the kitchen and found the engagement ring he had given her beside the stove.

She said he became angry and asked her why she was not wearing the ring.

According to her, the deceased at this point broke their mirror and used part of it to stab her as a result of which she cried out to neighbours for help.

She said it was in the course of the fight that ensued between them that she stabbed Ebong in his abdomen with a kitchen knife before any of their neighbours got there.

Delivering judgement in the matter on Wednesday, Justice Taiwo held that Blessing acted in self-defence.

The trial judge also commuted the charge of murder against Blessing to ‘voluntary manslaughter’.

Justice Taiwo held that the convict did not intend to cause grievous bodily harm to the deceased when she stabbed him in the lower part of his abdomen.

“The defendant has established factors necessary to prove self-defence. I find that the defendant acted in self defence as she was a victim of unprovoked assault.

“The defendant is not guilty of murder, but I find her guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of Edet Ebong”.

According to the judge: “Section 227 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2012 prescribes life imprisonment for the offence of involuntary manslaughter. This is a clear case of recklessness on the part of both the deceased and the defendant”.

Justice Taiwo then proceeded to sentence the convict to ten years imprisonment.

She said the sentence will take effect from August 2015 when she has been in custody at Kirikiri Female Prisons.

Before the sentence was passed, defence counsel Ms Favour Eboh-Mgbehoma, in her allocutus asked the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the defendant was a first time offender.
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