Woman on Wheelchair Testifies in Her Ex-Husband’s Attempted Murder Trial

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By Kemeseng Sanneh (Kexx)

The woman [name withheld] whose ex-husband allegedly cut her body parts to the point that she is now moving with the help of a wheelchair, on Tuesday testified in the attempted murder trial involving her husband, Yugo Sowe. The man goes by two names Gorgi Sowe and Yugo Sowe, whichever name is used is referring to the accused person.

The charges against Yugo Sowe are attempted murder, assault causing grievous bodily harm, intentional harm, wounding and domestic violence. He is accused of trying to cause the death of his wife (name withheld) on the 16th of November 2023 in Brikama-Jalambang by hacking her with a cutlass, resulting in fatal injuries to her legs, arms, and other body parts. The accused person is said to have allegedly attempted to disfigure and disable his wife by using a cutlass leading to fatal injuries on her body. The accused person is said to have unlawfully inflicted wounds on his wife by cutting her with a cutlass. He is accused of domestically violating his wife by hacking her with a cutlass, causing grievous harm to her body parts. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

State Counsels Mariam Singhateh, A. Gibba and F. Drammeh appeared for the State while Senior Counsel O. Suso from the National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA) represented the accused person.

The victim commenced giving her testimony in an open court before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the Banjul High Court. She stated that she is a resident of Jalanbang and a businesswoman who was married to the accused person for 23 years. During the marriage relationship, the witness said they had seven (7) children – five (5) of whom are boys.

She testified that her ex-husband Gorgi Sowe attempted to kill her.  She said their 23 years of marriage was very difficult and she experienced problems with her former husband (the accused person).

“Can you describe what your marriage was like?” State Counsel Mariama Singhateh asked.

“Marriage is marriage but every marriage has its difficulty. I have a big problem with him. It started with a land issue. I travelled to my village and upon returning I found that he [the accused person] sold my land. I started complaining and he told me that the person who gave me the land wanted to marry me, but that’s not the case because the person who gave me the land is my uncle. I complained to my mother and she advised me to leave the land with him because we are related. I took my mother’s advice for the sake of God.

I then came to my village and he sent a message that he had divorced me, and he also sold my cow. When I enquired about the cow, he told me he sold the cow. I called my mother to judge between us. When my mother came, she told him that ‘you sold her land and I asked her to bear and she agreed and now her cow’. My mother told him (the accused) that he should be the one who should build me up and not destroy me. He (the accused) told my mother that the reason he sold the cow was because he did not want the cow to die. I told him he should not have sold the cow.

After divorcing me, I did not have peace. Even after the divorce, the problem continued and people were telling me he was angry but I was still his wife. I told them he divorced me three times,” the witness said.

“Can you tell the court what you meant that you don’t have peace with him after the issue of the cow?” Counsel Singhateh asked.

“Like I said, he divorced me three times and people said I cannot go like that. He was given land for free in the bush and he took me and my children to a compound in the bush (forest). When I was in the bush (forest), when he came there I told him I was no longer his wife because he divorced me three times and he responded unless I left the compound but as long as I was in the compound he would come and sleep with me. I told him that he had divorced me three times and many people witnessed that, but he kept coming to the house at night and this continued for three years. When he stopped the problems, when he comes to the compound now he will tell me a particular part of the compound belongs to my co-wife (Dadoo),” the victim said.

The witness said the second wife, Dado, was not living with them. She testified that she lived in the bush alone with her children.

“What is the condition of the bush compound?” Counsel Singhateh asked.

“Hardship, the place is lonely – only me and my children live there. It is a dangerous place,” the witness said.

She recalled that during the time she used to live with her ex-husband and his second wife, she used to pass through difficulties. When she was moved to the bushy area by her ex-husband, the accused person used to point at an area saying it belonged to the second wife.

“That is where the problem began because I told him that Dado has no share in the compound because where Dado lives is bigger than where I live.  The accused said if I continued saying that Dado did not have a portion in the compound he would kill me. I told him then you have to kill me because Dado does not have a share in the compound. He (the accused) said that he would sell the compound if he had a customer,” the witness said.

She said she refused for the compound to be sold because she has children and she wants them to have a compound to stay. She testified that the accused person brought three (3) customers who were Momodou Jallow, Jawara and Ebrima Bah.

“When I told him that I talked to Ebrima Bah about my condition and that Ebrima would not come again to buy the compound. He (the accused person) then told me he would kill me if he sold the land,” the witness said.

The witness said the accused person stopped coming to her for 3 weeks and when she called him to inquire, he informed her that he was sick.

She testified that she asked her children to go and see their father. The case was adjourned to the 3rd of June 2024 at 11 am and 04th of June 2024.