Arogundade and Adebiyi
Sunday Okobi with agency report
It had started with the blazing fire of new-found lovers. Consumed by their passion, and determined to share love and emotional affinity, neither Esther Arogundade, 32, nor Shola Adebiyi, both Nigerians, cared a hoot about their religious differences. They found love between themselves, and religion was not going to be a barrier. Or so they thought. While Arogundade was a devout Christian, Adebiyi was a committed Muslim.
Between them, they could handle their religious differences. But a third member, their daughter, soon joined to change their calculation. The faith to be practised by the two-year-old daughter became an issue. Should she be allowed to be a Muslim like the father or should she, like the mother, be a Christian? Neither parent accepted to bulge. And that began to generate tension and create rift between the erstwhile lovers.
The disagreement between them strained their relationship and that drove Arogundade into the arms of another man.
Unable to stand being ditched by her, Adebiyi plotted his revenge. One day, Adebiyi, a kitchen porter, attacked Arogundade, a worker with KFC, with a kitchen knife in her home and stabbed her 13 times.
He also drank oven cleaner in an attempt to kill himself and phoned Arogundade's new lover to say he would never see her again before confessing to the killing to a friend.
Police broke into the mother-of-two's home in Salford, Greater Manchester, and found Arogundade lying dead on the kitchen floor with multiple stab wounds to her back and front.
Adebiyi was jailed at Manchester Crown Court for a minimum of 20-and-a-half years after admitting killing her.
The court heard how Arogundade began dating Adebiyi in 2007 and that they later had a daughter now aged two but split up last year after a series of rows.
Rob Hall prosecuting said: 'These arguments were ignited by differences of opinion over the religion of their daughter - the defendant wanted her to convert from Christian to Islam, but Esther was a church goer.
'There were arguments about expenses, bills and childcare.'
Last March, Arogundade who also had a nine-year-old daughter living in Nigeria from a previous relationship, began a friendship with another man named in court as Mr. Alabi.
While visiting family in Africa, Alabi received a sinister phone call from Adebiyi, claiming he would be killed if he returned to the UK.
Alabi told Arogundade about the call and she spoke to Adebiyi but he initially denied it.
Hall added: 'Mr. Alabi returned to the UK and the relationship took the next step and it turned into a sexual relationship.
'They spent a great deal of time talking and texting on their mobile phones - it may well be that it came to the attention of the defendant.'
On June 26, Adebiyi cleared out his locker at work at a conference centre in Manchester then left armed with a large kitchen knife and waited for Arogundade and their daughter to come home.
Throughout that evening, there were phone calls between Alabi and Arogundade and also a child minder who was booked for the next day.
But the following morning, Adebiyi was said to have made 'frantic arrangements' to get child care for his daughter and handed her over at 9.50 am along with her birth certificate and left in her push chair.
He then called Alabi, who asked about the whereabouts and welfare of Arogundade only to be told he would never see her again.
He then called a friend and confessed he had killed her, claiming it had happened during a fight.
The friend went to the house and saw Adebiyi come out wearing a blood-stained T-shirt and holding a large black-handled knife.
He saw him throw the knife into nearby bushes.
In mitigation, defence counsel, Michael Lavery, said his client had made a 'very genuine' attempt to take his own life by drinking oven cleaner.
He added: “He took the knife to kill himself and his partner. He's lost his daughter as well as a consequence of his own actions.
“Many men and women have to endure the discovery that the husband, wife or partner is no longer content with the relationship they have. What the law cannot permit is the use of violence, which is what you used.
“It is tragic for the victim of this murder and a tragedy for the daughter and for the father too. It is his own fault, I know, but that is not going to make it easier for her.”
Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Gilbart QC told Adebiyi it was not clear exactly when he had killed Arogundade.
He added: “Your relationship had come to an end with frequent disagreements and rows between the two of you.
“She formed a relationship with another man. You resented it, and tried to warn him off with threats.
“She let you know that she no longer wanted to be with you and wanted to pursue a relationship with another man.
“You were most upset at that prospect. She sought friendship elsewhere, including in an affair with another man. You were understandably upset but let me be clear about this.
“Many men and women have to endure the discovery that the husband, wife or partner is no longer content with the relationship they have.
“Many are jealous or unhappy. But what the law cannot and will not permit is the use of violence, which is what you used.
“I am prepared to accept that you were very upset - and indeed distraught - at what was happening to your relationship.
“'When you acted as you did you were under considerable emotional strain.”
After the case, Senior Investigator Andrew Tattersall of Greater Manchester Police said: “The biggest tragedy here is that a young girl has now been deprived of both her parents.
“Her mother was taken from her in a vengeful, violent attack and no sentence today can bring her back.”