A High Court in Lagos Nigeria sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square annexe on Friday found Peter Nielsen, a Dane, guilty of two counts of murder of his Nigerian wife, Zainab, and daughter, Petra.
The Government of Lagos State of Nigeria arraigned the 53-year old Dane, Peter Nielsen, on June 13, 2018, on a two-count charge of murder, punishable under Section 223 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos, 2015, which prescribes the death penalty on conviction.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Nielsen was said to have killed his wife, a musician also known as Alizee, and his daughter on April 5, 2018, at about 3.45 a.m. at their Banana Island residence in the Ikoyi area of Lagos.
Justice Bolanle Okikiolu-Ighile delivered the judgment based on the post-mortem examination led by John Obafunwa, a professor, on the deceased persons.
Professor Obafunwa submitted that the bruises found on the head and neck of Zainab were consistent with blunt trauma. The autopsy report also stated that the “tiny signs of bleeding” proved to be smothering as the cause of death.
On whether the deaths were caused by the defendant, Peter Nielsen, the court recounted several testimonies by the prosecution’s witnesses, including a housemaid, Zainab’s sibling and two police officers.
The witnesses testified during the trial to domestic violence incidents perpetrated by Mr Nielsen on the late musician.
The court particularly described Zainab’s sister, Pepe, who was about 13 years old at the time of the incident, as a witness of truth who testified about a fight between the couple in 2017.
The court added that the defendant had threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone about what she saw.
According to the court, DNA results of the extracts found under Zainab’s fingernail showed she tried to fight back in the deadly encounter and that those samples were found to match the defendant’s.
The court also noted that the couple fought that night, contrary to Mr. Nielsen’s denials and claims that he had a pleasurable night with his family.
It was noted that Zainab once ran away to Abuja and said she wanted a divorce, which wasn’t necessary because her marriage to the defendant was null ab initio. He was still married to his wife in Denmark and had three children with her.
In her sentencing, the judge held that, in line with Section 223 (2) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos state, 2015, “subject to the provision of any other law, the death sentence is the punishment for murder. I, at this moment, find you, Peter Nielsen, guilty of the murder of Zainab and Petra, as charged. I also prescribe the court’s sentence upon you for both counts of murder to be death by hanging. May the Almighty God have mercy on your soul.”