A 21-year-old Nigerian in the UK has been jailed for manslaughter after his teenager girlfriend died from self-inflicted knife wound during an altercation with her boyfriend.
Oluwaseyi Dada, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 17-year-old Katrina Makunova, was sentenced to two years and three months at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 31 January.
Miss Makunova died during a row with Dada, falling on to a 19.5cm knife she had inside her handbag, which pierced her chest and heart, with the blade penetrating about 17.5cm, the court heard.
The court had heard how Dada and Makunova had been in a relationship that had recently deteriorated.
A series of social media communications between Dada and Katrina were obtained by police from the victim’s mobile phone. These posts showed there was a feud between them, with both parties making veiled threats and insulting each other.
On 12 July 2018, Katrina had gone to the lobby of a block of flats on Brisbane Street where Dada lived. The pair encountered each other on the ground floor and a struggle began.
During the course of this altercation both of them fell, but unfortunately Katrina was carrying a knife in her handbag. Katrina fell onto the handbag, causing the knife to pierce the bag and then stab Katrina in the chest.
Police were called at 12:16hrs to reports of the incident and on arrival officers found Dada and administered CPR to Katrina.
The London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance also attended. Despite the efforts of paramedics, Katrina was pronounced dead at the scene at 13:02hrs.
A post-mortem examination took place on 14 July 2018 and gave cause of death as a single stab wound.
Dada was arrested on suspicion of murder at the scene and subsequently charged with manslaughter on 13 July 2018.
Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith, who described the case as an “extraordinary case”. told Dada:
“She died from a single knife wound. The kitchen knife that caused her death was hers and had, it seems, been brought to the scene by her in a handbag you had given her. It appears that somehow in the struggle between you and her, the blade of the knife was pushed through the bag from the inside and tragically pierced her chest and heart. There is no evidence that you ever touched it before she received her fatal injury.”
On hearing the sentence, and that Dada will serve half of it before being released on licence, one of Miss Makunova’ s relatives shouted,
“Are you serious?
“It’s a f****** joke. She was 17 years (old). One year for my sister. It’s a f****** joke.”
Other family members broke down in tears.
They all left court followed by police liaison officers, and further shouting could be heard from outside the courtroom.
The judge said Dada had helped to build up “the tension” ahead of the confrontation between them, which “was expected to be so serious” that Miss Makunova arrived with a knife in her handbag.
The incident happened in Camberwell, south London, on July 12 last year, at the block of flats where Dada lived, after the pair exchanged heated and threatening texts.
Relations between the couple, who had dated for two years, had become increasingly turbulent and in the months leading up to Miss Makunova’s death, she made several allegations to police of assault and harassment against Dada, the court had heard.
The judge said,
“Doubtless you expected that she would be armed and so you did confront her, you grabbed her handbag. In the course of the struggle you took hold of her, pushed her and she fell.”
The judge added that the confrontation “could so easily have been avoided” if Dada had stayed in his flat or left the building.
Messages declaring “let the party begin”, “I actually dare you to come in”, “So are you bringing people yes or no”, and “am gonna burn your mum right now”, were among the heated texts which were sent in the build up to the incident.
The judge told Dada:
“These messages must be seen in context of other messages sent by you a few days earlier that read ‘Don’t piss me off’, ‘Is cause no-ones been touched u think I am a joke’ and ‘Don’t play that game before I stab you’.”
Dada had denied producing a knife in the past, the court heard. Police had become involved “no less than six times” in the last months of the couple’s relationship.
The judge noted that the last incident happened on June 26, in which “there was no dispute” Dada threw a drink over her, just days before Miss Makunova died, and was still being investigated by police.
Dada’s family had been sitting separately on the other side of the court and away from the public gallery. Dada looked towards his family and then at the victim’s family before he was led away.
Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:
“A young woman has lost her life and our thoughts remain with her family and friends, who have been devastated by Katrina’s death. This case is a tragedy for everyone involved. This was a case of manslaughter in which the victim had taken a knife to the scene.
After an altercation with Dada this knife – which had never been taken out of the bag – pierced the bag, stabbing her in her chest resulting in her death.
“This is unfortunately another sad example of the consequences of carrying knives. We must all work hard to prevent any further loss of lives.”