Shock, tears and wailing took the better part of mourners who attended a memorial service held in Accra last Saturday for the University of Professional Studies student who was allegedly stabbed by her estranged boyfriend.
Faces were buried in palms and handkerchiefs mopped flood of tears of mourners at the auditorium of the Trinity Parish of the Global Evangelical Church at Kotobabi in Accra where the memorial service was held to bid late Jennifer Attieku farewell.
Jennifer’s mother could not be consoled when the mourners filed past her late daughter’s body. She wept uncontrollably as she stood by the coffin that contained her daughter’s body.
Her pain, sorrow and red-teary eyes were her last moment spent with her deceased daughter, a level 300 Banking and Finance student, who was allegedly stabbed to death on November 12 by her boyfriend after a break-up.
The 20-year-old’s death adds to a growing number of domestic violence cases across the country where women are mostly the victims.
A big loss
In a tribute, a family representative described Jennifer’s death as a big blow to the family as she carried so much hope.
The Catechist of the church, Mr Godwin Aklamanu, could not hide his disappointment about a loss that he said had robbed the church of a potential influential person.
Mr Aklamanu said Jennifer joined the children’s service at age three and graduated to the teens’ service before being baptised to join the adult church in 2013. “It was at this point that she left for school. It is indeed a very sad moment and a big loss not just for her family but the church as well,” he added.
Humans on assignment
In an emotional sermon anchored on Revelation 20, Pastor Edward Abbah said all men were on assignment on earth and would be accountable to God, their Maker.
“As we filed past her, tears were running down our faces, but I don’t know whether you were crying for her or you were thinking about the fact that one day, you will be lying here like her.
“This is a fact of life. Our assignment has a beginning and an end. Unfortunately, we have no control. She has ended her race and now awaiting for the Master to judge her,” he said.
He asked the solemn congregants how they would account to their Maker when their time was due.“When your time comes, how are you going to account to your Maker?”
Pastor Abbah said funeral services were time for sober reflection for all to re-examine their lives and the path they were on and re-align with Christ.
He deplored class culture, saying at the appointed time, God’s benchmark for judging the world would be the same.
He also said the material wealth acquired on earth was meant to support those in need as at the end of a person’s time on earth, he or she would not take anything away.
The wails in the church went a notch higher, especially among the deceased’s childhood friends and schoolmates, when the casket was closed and carried out of the church into an ambulance to be buried in her hometown, Have-Dunyo in the Volta Region, last Saturday.
The Head of Banking and Finance of UPSA, Dr Charles Barnor, told the Daily Graphic that Jennifer’s death came as a shock to the school given the promise she held.
He said the school would counsel its students on how to spot danger in social relationships while at the same time putting structures in place to protect the students.
He said although the incident did not happen on the university’s campus, management of the university valued the security of its students, but admitted that it was impossible to control social relationships among students.
Tribute from friends
Paying tributes to their departed friend in an interview with the Daily Graphic, some of her childhood friends, including Ms Belinda Heymann, described Jennifer as “a calm and down to earth person”.
“She was a very quiet person. It was a big shock. She was home over the weekend and we had a long chat. I can’t believe it was our last moment and I would hear about her death on Thursday,” she said before breaking into tears.
Another friend of hers, Joshua, who described her as a humorous character, said, “You can’t be with Jennifer and frown. No matter what, she was great, adorable and a friend who cared.”
“She was slow to anger and quick to settle misunderstandings. I can’t believe she is gone. I still can’t believe it,” Mr Clifford Selorm, the leader of the church’s choreography team, of which Jennifer was a member, said of her.
Jennifer’s estranged boyfriend, Paul Euename, 26, a taxi driver, allegedly stabbed Jennifer in the neck and also stabbed himself in the abdomen after eyewitnesses and passers-by had raised an alarm, while the victim fell from the wounds sustained from the attack.
The incident, which happened in an open space near the Alpha Medical Centre at Madina Estates about 8 a.m. on November 12, attracted many people, some of whom called the police.
The two were taken to the Alpha Medical Centre unconscious, where the medical personnel managed to resuscitate Paul but pronounced Jennifer dead.
Threat of life
An elder brother of the deceased, Alfred Attieku, told the police that Jennifer had informed him about a threat by her alienated boyfriend to kill her if she did not reconsider her decision to break up with him.
He said he, therefore, went to the Legon Police Station to file a complaint about the threat and Paul was subsequently arrested.
Mr Attieku said Paul was, however, granted bail, only for him to receive a call on the day of the incident that his sister had been stabbed by a taxi driver who turned out to be her boyfriend.
Briefing the Daily Graphic, the Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mrs Effia Tenge, said the Madina Police received a call that a man had stabbed a woman near the Alpha Medical Centre after the two had engaged in a scuffle.
When the police arrived on the scene, she said a woman was found with deep knife cuts on her head, throat and left breast, while the man, who was said to have stabbed himself in the abdomen, was found with the bloodstained knife lying close by.
Preliminary investigations by the police, she said, established that Jennifer, who had reported a case of threat against her life by her boyfriend on November 10, 2015, was on her way to school from her hostel when the incident happened.
She said although the police arrested the boyfriend when they received the complaint, he was released on police enquiry bail on November 11, 2015 and traced Jennifer to her hostel, since she had refused to answer his calls.
The two are believed to have engaged in an argument at the private hostel where Jennifer lived, which was not far from the scene of the stabbing.
The police have since retrieved the kitchen knife which they described as “new and sharp”.
Paul is currently receiving treatment at the Alpha Medical Centre, where he is being guarded by policemen.