Man confesses to strangling a lady to death over #50,000 debt
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A young man, identified as Joseph Fekala, was recently arrested by the Bayelsa State Police Command for allegedly killing a 25-year-old woman, identified as Kate Ogwoh.
After killing her, he went ahead to bury her corpse in his apartment in Okaka community, in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
In this interview, he tells DANIELS IGONI why he regretted his dastardly act
How old are you and what is your occupation?
I am 27 years old. I used to work in a company as an administrative support employee.
Where is the company located?
It is in Port Harcourt, (Rivers State). It is located along Aba Road. It is an oil and gas company.
What is your designation and for how long have you been working there?
I started work in April this year. I send reports on the weekly activities of the company.
Is it true that you are a youth pastor in a church in Yenagoa?
I am not a pastor.
You were arrested for alleged murder. How did it happen?
On July 1, (2022), I came to Bayelsa to do some maintenance in my apartment because Kate (the deceased) met me in February and said that she needed a place to stay based on the fact that the person she was staying with in Lagos no longer wanted her to stay. So, she needed a place for about four months before going back to Lagos. So, since my younger sister, who was her friend, gave her permission to come to stay in the house, a two-bedroom apartment, I agreed that she should come. I gave her one of the rooms and I stayed in the parlour. After some time, I got a job and left for Port Harcourt. Occasionally, I returned to my house to do some maintenance because it was not properly fixed. On that day (July 1) when I came, we were talking and all that. Then she told me that she wanted to go into forex trading because she knew that back in 2020, I was involved in forex. She told me to trade for her but I told her the best I could do for anyone was to teach the person how to trade and not trade for the person because I knew the inconveniences that came with trading for people. We moved past that after so many talks.
One night, I was in the house when she went to her family house in Opolo. She asked for my (bank) account details and I sent it to her and she sent N50,000 to me. That was in the first week of July.
Did you ask her why she sent the money to you or were you expecting it?
I didn’t want to ask her what it was meant for because I had clarified that I didn’t want to trade for anyone. And she mentioned the fact that she wanted to help out in the fixing of the house because she wanted to have some guests, and I told her it was fine if he wanted to help and that I would use the money to cover the rent. She agreed. The next day, when I asked her what the N50,000 was for, she said she wanted me to trade for her but I told her I could not do that. As I said, the best I can do is teach someone how to trade but after so much persuasion, I agreed. So, I asked her what she expected monthly from it (trade) and she said she expected N20,000 monthly for five months from N50,000. But I told her no bank or financial institution could do that for her. It is not a miracle. We talked for a while and I told her to send her (bank) account details to me to return the money to her after five days. Some things came up and I could not return the money on time.
How did she react to that?
She started sending text messages to my colleague that I am a criminal and a scammer. She called me names. I had just started work (in Port Harcourt) recently and didn’t want it to escalate to the office. So, I tried chatting with her to clear myself but she didn’t want to listen. I said it (inability to return her money) was something I could not explain over the phone, so I had to go to Bayelsa to talk to her one-on-one. So, I went to Bayelsa on July 25 to talk to her and make her see the reason, with the hope of returning to Port Harcourt soon. But when I got to Bayelsa a little before 9pm, I saw that she was angry so I didn’t talk to her. I didn’t say anything, I just lay in my bed and tried to sleep. I also noticed that she had one of my tenants’ children over but when I asked the child what she was doing in the house, Kate raised her voice and started shouting at me, asking me what’s my business over who she had over me. I said it was my house and that I was talking to the child, not her but she said she did not want to start a fight with me that night.
I left her and I tried to sleep but for almost 20 minutes she kept talking and raising her voice. I ignored it and tried to sleep. The next day, which was aTuesday, I couldn’t resolve the issue so I decided to stay for a few more days to resolve it before going back to work because if I didn’t resolve it, chances were that she would repeat what she did the previous night. So, I stayed back till Thursday. But all these days, I was not at home, I had stayed away to let her calm down. I came back on Thursday to speak with her, but she was still hurt the moment she saw me. But I didn’t pay attention to her because I knew I had to go back to the office and I couldn’t keep giving excuses for my absence from the office. I tried to talk to her and assure her that I would return her when my clients paid me at the end of the month.
Did she accept your plea?
She said she didn’t want the N50,000 but claimed that she had an interest of N20,000 and that the N5,000 interest I suggested was nothing. I explained that even if I had to give her an interest of N20,000, it had to be on the exact day next month (August) in which the agreement was made and we were in July as of that time. She continued raising her voice and telling me that her aunt was a policewoman and that she would deal with me. While she was talking and raising her voice, she pushed me, so I pushed her back and she fell on the bed in a sitting position. She tried to shout for help but I knew that if she screamed for help, neighbours would rush in and support her without hearing what I had to say. They would believe her. I quickly rushed to her and tried to close her mouth to stop her from calling for help but she bit my hand, and we started struggling from the bed to the floor. As we struggled, I held on to her neck too tight and she passed away. I choked her by holding on to her neck tight. I did not hold her neck for up to one minute because I knew that it was the struggling that took time – from the bed to the floor, but I did not hold her neck for up to a minute.
What did you do after she died?
After she passed on, I walked out of the house to go clear my head because I understood what I had done. I walked out to think about what I had done and the implications of everything. As I was walking, the thought of burying her corpse came to my mind. So when I went back, I looked for someone around that could help me with a shovel. I borrowed one, went to the house, looked for a section of the house that looked easier to dig, dug it and placed her body there. After that, I returned the shovel and walked away. I didn’t return to the house until late at night.
How sure were you that she was dead when buried her corpse?
I checked her pulse on her wrist. I was a science student so I know most of these things.
Did anyone assist you to bury her body?
No, it was me alone.
Did you tie her hands and legs?
I didn’t tie her hands and her legs.
When you held her neck tight, what did she say?
Did she not scream?
No, she didn’t scream.
Why did you not report the incident to the police?
The thought of reporting it to the police did not occur to me because I knew the implications of what I did. Everything happened too fast.
Some people claimed that you killed her for a money ritual. Is that true?
I didn’t kill her for anything.
Did you inform your younger sister that you killed her friend?
I told no one about it.
Had you killed someone before Kate’s?
No, I have not.
How did people learn about Kate’s death?
The following day, her mother came around. It was the first time I saw her. She said she was looking for her daughter. I opened the door for her to come in. Apparently, the daughter gave her a spare key to the house. I understood the mother came on one of the nights I was not around to check on her.
Some of your neighbours suspect that there might be other graves around your apartment. What’s your reaction to that allegation?
They should by all means dig it out if they suspect anything.
Were you and Kate the only people in the building when the incident happened?
Yes. It happened in the morning, between 9am and 10am while it was raining.
Kate’s father said you denied knowing her whereabouts when he asked you. Why did you conceal the information?
I did that because I didn’t know how to explain to him that I just killed his daughter.
You said she was not your girlfriend, but you lived in the same apartment. How comfortable was it for you to stay with her as your tenant?
She was neither my girlfriend nor my tenant. She was my younger sister’s friend who was looking for accommodation and I had an empty room in a two-bedroom apartment, so I offered her one of the rooms to live in since she said my younger sister approved of it.
Do you feel remorseful about your action?
I feel very bad about it because it was a simple thing I could have prevented, firstly, by not accepting her to stay in my house; and sticking to my principle of not accepting her money. But I broke my principles of allowing someone to live with me and accepting her money to trade. So, I feel very bad about setting principles and breaking them and this is leading to a very bad tunnel.