The Police in the FCT have arraigned one Joey Ikwen before an Abuja Senior Magistrates’ Court in Karu, for allegedly burying his girlfriend, Theresa Benandart, without informing her family or the police.
Ikwen was arraigned on a one-count charge of negligent conduct.
The prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Peter Adams, said the deceased was living with the accused in his residence at Asokoro Extention, Abuja, until she took ill and died on February 8, 2014.
Adams said the deceased’s uncle, Francis Benandart, reported the case at the Asokoro Police Station from where it was later transferred to the FCT Police Command, Abuja.
According to him, “Theresa died on February 8 after a brief illness and her body was deposited at the General Hospital in Asokoro, Abuja. The accused later collected her corpse and buried her without informing her parents or the police.”
He said the offence contravenes Section 196 of the Penal Code.
The accused, who pleaded guilty to the charge narrated how he met the deceased and the efforts he made to contact her family after her death.
He said, “I met Theresa barely a month before her death, and my intention was to marry her. I was even planning to travel to Cross Rivers to see her parents but she told me they died long ago.
“I insisted she took me to her grandparents living in Masaka, Nasarawa, but she refused, saying she left them over five years ago because they were maltreating her.”
The accused claimed that when she died, there was no means of contacting her relations because the incident happened barely a month after we started dating and I did not want to abandon the corpse at the mortuary. becausend due to the love I have for her.
He said that because of the love he had for his deceased girlfriend, he had to claim the corpse and take it for burial because he thought that was the right thing to do under the circumstance.
His counsel, Ayim Okpoga, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the deceased’s friend that could have assisted him to locate her family fled on hearing about her death.
He said, “My client was obviously in shock, and wasn’t thinking straight, having lost a loved one. This can happen to anybody. I plead with this court to consider his age as a young man full of ambition in delivering its judgment.”
The presiding senior magistrate, Anna Akobi, adjourned the case till May 19, stating that adjournment was to give the court time to determine the appropriate sanctions for the offence.
She ordered Ikwen to be remanded in Keffi Prison.