Nigerian bags life jail in UK for killing wife

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Nigerian bags life jail in UK for killing wife

 

In a heart-wrenching twist of fate, 48-years-old Olubunmi Abodunde, a resident of Newmarket, Suffolk, United Kingdom, has been sentenced to a lifetime behind bars for the killing of his 41years-old wife, Taiwo. The incident saw him bludgeon his wife to death with his son’s skateboard on November 28, 2023, shattering the hopes of a brighter future the couple sought when they relocated abroad a few years ago. London Bureau Chief OLATUNDE KAZEEM reports the chilling turn of events.

 

In a tragic turn of events, Olubunmi Abodunde, 48, hailing from Newmarket, Suffolk, United Kingdom, has received a life sentence for the brutal killing of his 41-year-old wife, Taiwo Owoeye Abodunde, on November 28, 2023.

 

The tragic incident saw him bludgeon his wife to death with his son’s skateboard, which was discovered stained with blood, some fragments lodged in Taiwo’s head, resulting in severe neck, head and brain injuries. Presiding over the case, Judge Martyn Levett of the Ipswich Crown Court delivered the somber verdict, marking a tragic conclusion to a family’s strife-ridden tale. With a minimum of 17 years before parole consideration, Abodunde’s jealousy and financial disputes with his wife were cited by prosecuting attorney Stephen Spence as contributing factors to the heinous crime, underscoring the corrosive impact of domestic discord.

 

Detective Inspector Dan Connick prosecuting said after the hearing: “This was an awful attack on a woman that has had a lasting impact on the community and most importantly on the victim’s family” and “we are pleased that Taiwo’s family will no longer have to go through the pain of a trial. Our thoughts remain with Taiwo’s family and friends and hope this result will bring some small comfort to them.”

 

Nneka Akudolu KC, in her defense, asserted that the level of violence displayed by her client was entirely uncharacteristic and potentially influenced by medication he may have been taking. However, she acknowledged that no medical evidence was provided to substantiate this claim. Olubunmi, who changed his plea to guilty before sentencing, reacted with shock, clasping his hand over his face, speechless, realising the stark reality that less than two years after arriving to join his wife in the UK, he would now spend his days in the desolate confines of a prison.

 

The absence of family banter, where children joyfully play and parents smile in contentment, now looms over his life. In a poignant victim impact statement, Kehinde Owoeye, the late Taiwo’s brother, expressed the profound and enduring trauma inflicted upon the children, who may struggle to reconcile the fact that their father is responsible for their mother’s death.

 

Seeking solace in justice, the family implored that the law be upheld, offering a semblance of relief amid their grief. Furthermore, they requested that certain family members be permitted to visit the children, facilitating their healing process and honouring their late mother’s desire for familial support.

 

They emphasised the importance of migration to be with their extended family, providing a nurturing environment for the children’s emotional recovery and ensuring continuity in their education, a value cherished deeply by the family. This migration, they asserted, would be instrumental in fulfilling their sister’s wish for her children’s well-being and academic advancement.

 

Taiwo Abodunde was a dedicated employee at Cambridge Manor care home, renowned for her compassionate care towards residents, especially those requiring dementia, residential and respite care. TLC Care, the owner of the facility, expressed profound sorrow and shock at Taiwo’s tragic death, describing her as a cherished member of their community. Their spokesperson conveyed heartfelt condolences to her family, emphasising Taiwo’s legacy of kindness and compassion, which touched the lives of both staff and residents alike.

 

In contrast, Olubunmi, lacking stable employment, relied on sporadic shifts at Tesco and Wickes. In a statement to the police, he claimed self-defense, alleging years of physical abuse inflicted by his wife. However, the sequence of events paints a different picture.

 

On November 27th, 2023, Taiwo contacted Suffolk Police, reporting an assault by Olubunmi, adding to a series of previous assault reports dating back to August 15th, 2023. Subsequently, Olubunmi was arrested on suspicion of these assaults, leading to his temporary release from police custody later that day, albeit with stringent bail conditions. The imposed bail conditions prohibited Olubunmi from returning to their shared residence and from contacting Taiwo directly or indirectly, save for arranging child contact via a third party.

 

The bail condition, erroneously stating 239 Exning Road, Newmarket, should have been recorded as 259 Exning Road, Newmarket. However, when Suffolk Police visited Taiwo’s residence on Tuesday, November 28th, for a scheduled meeting to gather evidence regarding the assault allegations made against Olubunmi Abodunde on November 27th, they heard disturbing noises emanating from within the house. Upon entering the residence approximately 25 minutes later, they made a chilling discovery: Taiwo, a mother of three, lifeless on the floor of her living room. The police speculated that the fatal assault likely occurred between 9:12 am and 9:20 am.

 

According to the police report, officers arrived at 259 Exning Road, Newmarket, Taiwo’s home address, at 9:55 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. Inside, they found Taiwo unresponsive on the living room floor. Despite immediate medical attention, paramedics pronounced Taiwo dead at the scene. Olubunmi, Taiwo’s husband, was discovered within the residence and promptly arrested on suspicion of her murder. He was subsequently transported to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for interrogation and later appeared at both Ipswich Crown Court and Suffolk Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary hearing. Olubunmi asserted that on November 28th, an argument escalated, during which Taiwo allegedly brandished a knife, leading to him defending himself by grabbing the knife, resulting in an injury to his hand. However, the court was informed that although he sustained a hand injury, no knife was found near Taiwo’s body.

 

Prosecutor Simon Spence KC grimly informed the court that the banging heard by officers was likely the sound of Abodunde persisting in his assault on his wife, even after she had become unconscious or deceased. Following his arrest for the murder, Abodunde was taken to the hospital due to what appeared to be a mental episode. A neighbour residing near the couple’s unfortunate home in Newmarket recalled her observations, stating: “I arrived home to find the entire street swarmed with police and ambulances. Just two days prior, there were police present. I knew it was something truly terrible given the number of police and their reluctance to share information. Normally, they would provide some details, but they were exceptionally tight-lipped.”

 

Another neighbor added: “It’s simply dreadful; everyone is in shock. I used to see some young boys playing in their garden.”

 

The three children have been placed in foster homes in Norwich, UK, and they are set to be reunited with their uncle and aunt next month when two family members will meet with them. Kehinde Owoeye, twin brother to the late Taiwo, expressed gratitude for being granted visas by the British Consulate in Lagos to visit and assess the children’s situation.

 

Kehinde disclosed: “I will be accompanied by my sibling, Alaba Owoeye, next month. The plan is to check on the welfare of the children, bond with them and proceed accordingly.

 

However, Kehinde lamented the lack of support from the Nigerian Government, stating: “Nobody reached out to check on us; we had to handle everything ourselves with the assistance of the British Police, social services and the government in general.”

 

Adekunle Owoeye’s social media post delivered a poignant message to their extended family, urging composure amid the anguish. Expressing gratitude to the UK Government, detectives, private investigators and the Nigerian Embassy in London for their unwavering support, Adekunle also thanked the Igogo-Ekiti community, friends and well-wishers for their solidarity and comfort during this challenging period. Addressing their mother, he acknowledged the irreplaceable loss and emphasised the need for divine solace.

 

Reflecting on the past 18 years as a “living nightmare” for his late sister, Adekunle recounted her journey, underscoring her aspirations for independence and academic achievement. He revealed the husband’s attempt to hinder her financial independence by withholding her academic certifications for a decade out of envy. Despite the challenges, Adekunle remained resolute in seeking justice and closure for his sister’s untimely demise.

 

Elder Ayo Abodunde, the husband’s uncle, expressed profound sadness for the Owoeye family in light of the tragic events. Despite his attempts to extend condolences via phone calls, he noted their decline, understanding their emotional turmoil.

 

Seeking intervention from Oba Oladipupo Kolade, the Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti, Elder Abodunde, emphasised the imperative of addressing previous issues of domestic violence and counseling for the husband. He stressed the importance of patience and understanding in marital relationships, urging conflict avoidance given the legal and familial consequences.

 

The late Taiwo hailed from Igogo Ekiti, while Olubunmi was from Ipoti Ekiti. Their paths crossed in 2004 during a Seventh Day Adventist Church social-religious camp in Otun Ekiti. Despite initial reluctance, Taiwo eventually acquiesced to Olubunmi’s persistent pursuit, leading to their marriage. However, their 17-year union, fraught with challenges including controlling behaviour, domestic violence, infidelity allegations and distrust, ultimately deteriorated. Kehinde Owoeye, Taiwo’s brother, recounted the escalating verbal and physical abuse inflicted by Olubunmi, underscoring the profound strain on their marriage.

 

The tragic events surrounding the couple’s relationship sent shockwaves through the neighboring towns of Igogo and Ekiti, where conversations about the case permeated both the airwaves and street corners following Taiwo’s passing. Kehinde Owoeye, speaking on behalf of Taiwo’s family, recounted a distressing incident from years earlier in Igogo Ekiti, where Bunmi and Taiwo engaged in a heated altercation during an event over sleeping arrangements. Reports indicated that Bunmi resorted to physical violence, even striking Taiwo and her protesting mother-in-law.

 

The conflict was eventually mediated by the respective monarchs of the towns, namely, the Onigogo of Igogo Ekiti, HRM Oba Sunday Adewunmi, Okinbaloye I, and the Olupoti of Ipoti Ekiti, HRM Oba Sunday Adewunmi, Okinbaloye I. Expressing deep sorrow, HRM Oba Sunday Adewunmi, Okinbaloye I, conveyed his dismay at the untimely demise of Taiwo, lamenting the efforts invested by the royal house to foster reconciliation within the marriage. He underscored the guidance provided to Taiwo in their shared pursuit of a better life overseas, emphasising the heartbreaking outcome in light of their collective aspirations.

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