On Thursday, July 7, a Lagos State High Court sentenced Fortune and Steve Nwankwo to 16 years in prison for the unintentional killing of their maid Joy Adole, who was 19 years old.

On April 20, 2020, in their home in Bariga, Lagos, they were both charged with killing Adole. To counter the accusation, they asserted that Adole committed suicide by hanging herself in her bedroom.

The pair was convicted of manslaughter and conspiracy by Justice Oyindamola Ogala. Justice Ogala stated in his decision in case no. ID/13178C/20 that the prosecution had proven the charges of manslaughter, conspiracy, and attempt to pervert justice as well as misconduct in relation to the death of their maid at their home.

Stephen was found guilty by the court of the accusations of conspiracy, trying to thwart the course of justice, misconduct, and accessory after the fact to a felony. The judge concluded that the testimony of the prosecution witnesses was convincing and supported the theory that Fortune’s beating of the housemaid caused her death (first defendant).

“The deceased was beaten by the first defendant, which caused her to pass away because she had been ill prior to the incident.” The defendants didn’t call or inform the deceased’s family after learning of her death at 5 a.m. until noon, when the second defendant called the deceased’s sister and requested her full name and other personal information so they could embalm her in the morgue.

The second defendant helped the first defendant sway the course of justice by hanging the deceased with a rope after learning that she had killed the victim as a result of the beating. The defendants and the housemaid made up the household’s three adults. The defendants were the last two adults to speak with the housekeeper before she passed away. The judge then gave Fortune a 14-year prison term while giving Steve a two-year sentence.