For Deborah Bassey, a threeyear old infant, although too young to know, if she could turn back the hands of time, she would not have vomited and defecated on herself as that act has landed her on a cold slab in the mortuary after she was beaten to death by her uncle’s wife – a 21-year old woman identified as Rebecca Bassey.
According to the Lagos State police command, the incident occurred at Ijaiye Ojokoro area of the state on July 22, 2013.
A police source who spoke to PUNCH Metro said the victim lost her mother in 2010 and following her father’s eviction from theirhome, he decided to send Deborah and her elder sister to go and live with his brother, Vincent until he found his feet again.
“Deborah and her nine-year-old sister were living with Vincent and his wife, Rebecca, in a one-room apartment at Powerline, Jankara, Ijaiye Ojokoro. However, Rebeccawas always maltreating the two children”, the source added.
According to police investigations, on the day of the unfortunate incident, Deborah woke up around 5.30am with a hightemperature.
She soon began to vomit and stool, an involuntary act that angered Rebecca, who rather than administer first aid or seek medical attention for the three-year-old girl, beat herup.
A police source said, “In theprocess of beating the girl, the suspect pushed her andshe fell, hitting her head against the edge of a wooden chair in the room.”
PUNCH Metro learnt that thevictim started to bleed from the head. Some neighbours rushed her to Ahmadiyya Hospital, whereshe was referred to Orile Agege General Hospital where she later died.
Various neighbours in theirstatements at the Ijaye Ojokoro Police Division where the matter was reported, described the suspect as a hot-tempered woman, who was in the habit of beating the children.
“The way that woman beats up the children was very worrying to the extent that the landlord had threatened to evict them,” one of the statements read.
Vincent, who told the police that he was not at home when his wife beat his niece to death due to the nature of his work, said: “I was not at home when the incident happened. I am a photographer during daytime but I work as a vigilante group member. SoI hardly sleep at home.”
In her defence, the suspect claimed she did not intend to kill the victim as she onlypushed her (Deborah) and she hit her head against the chair.
“I am a housewife and I have a 10-month-old baby. I did not mean to kill her (Deborah). I only pushed her because she vomited and defecated on the floor.I was only trying to correcther. It was not deliberate. I am a mother too and I know how I would feel if my son was killed,” she said.
Meanwhile, the matter has been transferred to the State Criminal InvestigationDepartment, Yaba where homicide detectives are awaiting an autopsy report.
A source at the SCID said if the autopsy reveals other physical injuries on the victim’s body, it would prove she was indeed tortured before her death.