The post-mortem examination of the body of the late Cynthia Osokogu revealed that she died from asphyxia – absence of Oxygen supply to the body, a pathologist told the court on Friday.
Ms. Osokogu, 24, was allegedly drugged and murdered in a hotel room last July in Lagos.
Okwumo Nwabufor and Olisaeloka Ezike are charged, for Ms. Osokogu’s death, with conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and felony.
Osita Orji, a Pharmacist who sold the Rophynol drug to the alleged murderers, is accused of reckless and negligent act; while Nonso Ezike, who pawned the deceased’s Blackberry phone, is charged with possession of stolen property.
While testifying on Friday, John Obafunwa, a Professor of Forensic Medicine, said that the blockage of the deceased’s upper respiratory airways was the immediate cause of her death. He dispelled any probability of a self-inflicted harm or outright suicide.
His account of the state of the corpse at autopsy was as revealing as it was chilling – hair nets and handkerchiefs stuffed into the deceased’s mouth as well as a semblance of bite marks on both thighs- leaving a few people in the court room teary-eyed.
“Her two hands were tied behind her back and wrapped with a brown tape, in addition to applying a chain around the hands. The two legs were also taped together,” Mr. Obafunwa said, narrating the outcome of his post-mortem examination at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.
“The head area was stuffed in the mouth with what looked like a hair net – black/golden coloured- and a white handkerchief. All these were stacked inside her mouth and secured in place by same brown tape wrapped around the mouth,” he added.
Mr. Obafunwa said that after the objects were removed from the deceased’s mouth during autopsy; small indentations were observed around the lips, tongues, and inside of the mouth “due to the pressure of the materials inside the mouth.”
“The materials blocked the airways, she wouldn’t have been able to breathe,” said the pathologist.
“The lungs were heavy. The left and right lungs weighed 400 grammes and 500 grammes respectively. The normal weight should be about 250 – 300 grammes. They were heavy because of blood accumulation in the lungs, what we describe as Pulmonary Oedema.
“A combination of pin point haemorrhages, fluidity of blood and pulmonary oedema add up to the asphyxia. That was the immediate cause of death due to blockage of the upper respiratory airway. And this blockage was as a result of the gagging and choking,” Mr. Obafunwa said.
“The other findings of note are the multiple bruises and abrasions on the arms, the forearms, back, and what appeared to be bite marks on the front of the two thighs,” he added.