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Bamise: Pathologist tells court blunt force trauma caused death of woman allegedly raped by BRT driver 

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ARINZE NWAFOR, Lagos

A pathologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor Sunday Shoyemi, has testified and said that the death of Oluwabamise Ayanwola was caused by blunt force trauma.

Shoyemi said that, from his findings, Ayanwola died as a result of a severe craniocerebral injury she sustained due to blunt force trauma, as he gave his testimony before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on Friday.

The pathologist was the ninth and last prosecuting witness to give evidence in the trial of Andrew Nice Ominnikoron, the alleged rapist and killer of Ayanwola, a 22-year-old fashion designer.

Ominnikoron, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver, is facing a five-count charge bordering on felony, sexual assault, rape, conspiracy and murder before Justice Sherifat Sonaike. 

The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins called up Shoyemi to the witness box to narrate to the court how he conducted the autopsy on Ayanwola’s corpse. 

Shoyemi said the victim’s body had no clothing on, but he found a silver-coloured ring on her middle finger.

The pathologist said he observed a bruise on the left side of the victim’s corpse’s forehead, another bruise on the right temple just above the corpse’s ear and a large bruise on the back of the skull. 

“In addition, there was a bruise on the elbow region,” Shoyemi said.

The pathologist noted that all of the findings he had shared were from his observation of the external appearance of the deceased and that he carried it out before when he conducted the autopsy.

The pathologist said that when he had opened up the body, he noticed bleeding in the brain and a fracture of the bone above the ear.

Shoyemi said, “Upon opening up, there’s what we call Subdural hematoma, which means bleeding into the soft tissue covering the skull or bleeding into the brain. This was noticed on the frontal area as well as the back of the skull. 

“Again, there was a fracture of the temporal bone, meaning the bone above the ear,” he said.

The pathologist said he checked for deep bruising, which he explained as bruises that are unable to be seen unless the skin underneath which it lies is removed, and said that he found bruises on both lips.

He said, “The organs were essentially normal except the right ovary which has a cyst (fluid collection); which was an incidental finding and has nothing to do with her (the victim’s) death.”

The pathologist said he collected tiny samples from all the organs in the corpse and sent them to the laboratories where they were looked at under the microscope but no remarkable findings could be made.

“I specifically took samples of the breast and uterus to check for pregnancy but nothing was found. In the light of both the external and internal findings, death was ascribed to severe craniocerebral injury, following a blunt force trauma,” Shoyemi said.

Shoyemi said he took samples from the deceased for identification and the other for toxicology, which he sent to the Lagos State DNA forensic lab. 

Moreover, the pathologist said he gave an interim report to the Investigating Police Officer, CSP Oseni, who heads the homicide division of the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti.

Shoyemi noted that CSP Oseni was present during the autopsy and that he gave the full report to the DPP.

During the cross-examination of Shoyemi by the defence counsel, Abayomi Omotubora, the witness said it was the IPO who provided all the information about the deceased before he carried out an autopsy on the victim’s corpse.

“The information provided by the IPO, however, does not form the basis of the cause of death of the victim,” the pathologist said.

Omotubora sought the court to grant his application dated September 21, 2023, to recall some of the prosecution witnesses for further cross-examination.

The prosecution, led by Dr Martins, opposed the defence counsel’s application to recall the witnesses.

Justice Sonaike reserved her ruling for November 2, 2023, and the continuation of the trial after listening to the counsel.

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