By Chinyere Omeire
DNA analysis of nail scraping showed that Danish national, Peter Nielsen, murdered his Nigerian wife and daughter, a Lagos high court held on Friday.
The court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square sentenced Nielsen to death by hanging for killing his wife, Zainab and three-year-old daughter, Petra.
Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile convicted Nielsen on two counts of murder brought against him by Lagos State Government.
The judge sentenced Nielsen to death by hanging on both counts.
“This is one of the cases of domestic violence.
“The DNA analysis of nail scraping brought out the assailant of Zainab.
“Zainab tried so much to defend herself. The evidence shows that Peter Nielsen killed his wife and daughter,” the judge held in a five-hour judgment.
Okikiolu-Ighile held that oral and documentary evidence before the court showed that prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that Nielsen smothered his wife and daughter.
“There is evidence before the court that there was a fight between the defendant and his wife,” the judge held.
She said that Prosecution Witnesses (PW5 and PW6) testified that they heard Zainab calling Mimi (one the girls living with the couple) for help and they heard Zainab telling the defendant to check her phone but he kept hitting her head.
“The act of the defendant shows that he suffocated his wife and daughter.
“Peter has always domestically abused his wife which was shown in the police extract from Ikoyi Police Station.
“As a matter of fact, she ran away to Abuja and wanted a divorce.
“She didn’t know that her marriage to the defendant was void abi nitio because Peter was already married in Denmark.
“You are found guilty of murder of Zainab and Petra. I hereby pronounce that you Peter Nielsen be hanged by the neck till death. May God have mercy on you,” she held.
On the nightgown worn by Zainab on the night she died, which was admitted as an exhibit, the judge noted that, on Oct. 20, 2020, the court was vandalised and burnt by hoodlums who hijacked the EndSARS protest.
She held that it affected the night gown, a jumpsuit, towel and pant worn by Zainab and Petra on the night of their death.
She said that the pathologist who analysed the DNA on the gown was thoroughly examined and cross-examined by defence.
She noted that it was the law that all documentary evidence must be scrutinised.
“The defendant made application to expunge such items from the evidence.
“I have considered the application, Exhibits PWN (Zainab’s nightgown, Petra’s jumpsuit, towel and pant) is hereby expunged.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lagos State Government accused Nielsen of smothering Zainab, a singer, and Petra to death at 3.45a.m. on April 5, 2018.
The murder occurred at No. 4, Flat 17, Bella Vista Tower, Banana Island, Ikoyi.
Nielsen was arraigned on June 13, 2018.
He pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge of murder, contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Prosecution called nine witnesses and defence presented nine witnesses, also.