Court Views Slide Images of Late Cynthia Osukogu's Autopsy
An Ikeja High Court on Friday viewed slide images of the autopsy conducted on the remains of Cynthia Osokogu, who was murdered in a Lagos Hotel on July 22, 2012.
The images were shown to the court through a projector by Consultant Pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, Professor John Obafunwa.
Mr. Obafunwa, the Vice Chancellor of the Lagos University, LASU, was testifying at the resumed trial of four men charged with the alleged murder of the 25-year-old lady.
The men, Okwumo Nwabufo (33), Olisaeloka Ezike (23), Orji Osita (33) and Ezike Nonso (25), are facing a six-count charge of conspiracy, murder, stealing, reckless negligence and possession of stolen goods.
The images showed that late Ms. Osokogu’s hands were tied behind her back with a duct tape and a chain covered with a blue plastic wrap. It further showed several bruises on her body, while her mouth was stuffed with a handkerchief, hair net and weave-on which were sealed with a duct tape.
Led in evidence by the Lagos State Attorney-General, Ade Ipaye, Mr. Obafunwa said the autopsy was carried out five months after the deceased was killed.
He said that samples were taken from her various organs for toxicology studies, to determine the presence or absence of chemicals (drugs) on her system.
The expert witness said the toxicology result came back negative; adding that this might be due to the time the autopsy was conducted.
“It is either that drugs were absent in the first instance or as a result of the time interval which could have made the drugs disintegrate and become undetectable,” he said.
The forensic pathologist said that Osokogu’s corpse was tagged “unknown” when it was brought to the morgue at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja. He said that a duct tape was used to cover her mouth, adding that the only clothing she had on was an under shirt with pink stripes.
He said: “From our findings, the lungs of the deceased were heavily engorged with blood, weighing between 400 and 500 grammes, instead of the normal 250 and 300 grammes.
“There were also tiny beads on the surface, which was caused by the accumulation of blood, called Pulmonary Oedema.”
Mr. Obafunwa told the court that when the kidney of the deceased was sliced open, it had dark spots in some areas, indicating a shutdown of blood circulation due to shock.
He said that there were also suspected bite marks on Ms. Osokogu’s thighs.
“Like I said the last time, the deceased was asphyxiated, which means absence of oxygen supply to the body. That was the immediate cause of death. It was as a result of the blockage of her upper respiratory airways.
“This blockage was caused by the deceased being gagged and choked,” he said.
Messrs Nwabufo and Ezike are standing trial for allegedly murdering Ms. Osokogu at Cosmilla Hotel, Lake View Estate, Festac Town, Lagos.
Mr. Osita, a pharmacist, is also being prosecuted for negligently selling the Rohypnol Flunitrazepan tablets to Mr. Ezike, which was allegedly used to drug Ms. Osokogu, before she was killed.
The fourth defendant, Mr. Nonso, was charged to court for being in possession of three blackberry mobile phones belonging to the deceased.
The trial judge, Olabisi Akinlade, adjourned the case till May 31 for continuation of trial.