Ousainou Touray, a Hongkong-based 39-year-old Gambian accused of murdering his wife two years ago, has this Wednesday admitted in a Hongkong Court that he had physically struggled with her to defend himself during an altercation. Touray, however, told the court that he had forgotten whether he struck his wife before she died.
Opening the case before a High Court jury, prosecutor Mark Wei Ho-tong rejected defendant Touray Ousainou’s claim of self-defense. Instead, the prosecutor cited evidence suggesting that his wife, Adele Melano Cuyacot, had suffered extensive injuries and died of suffocation.
“We say the only irresistible inference is that it was the defendant who inflicted the injuries on the deceased, and it was he who killed the deceased,” Wei said.
Ousainou Touray, an unemployed Gambian in Hongkong, has denied murdering 40-year-old Cuyacot from the Philippines on or about April 10, 2019.
Prosecutor Wei said the couple was living together in a subdivided unit in a tenement building in To Kwa Wan “at the time when the deceased met her tragic death”.
Their neighbour said he had heard the sound of fighting coming from the unit, coupled with Cuyacot’s screams for Ousainou to stop, at around 4 am on April 9, Wei said. The neighbour knocked on their door, after which the noise briefly died down. It resumed for another hour after he returned to his flat.
Wei said the neighbour was later woken up by the sound of fighting and objects hitting the wall at about 9 am, but went back to sleep. When he woke again at noon, the neighbouring unit was quiet.
At about 9.30 pm on April 10, Ousainou went to Wong Tai Sin Police Station and reported that he had fought with his wife and subsequently died, but he denied killing her, Wei said.
Firefighters and paramedics arrived at the unit at 10.04 pm to find Cuyacot lying on her back in the air-conditioned bedroom, her naked body wrapped in a white bedsheet, with a Koran and a string of beads placed on her abdomen and music playing in the background.
She had no vital signs and was certified dead at 10.11 pm. Based on her rectal temperature, forensic pathologist Dr. Cheung Hiu-ni estimated her time of death to be between 2.03 am and 2.03 pm on April 10, Wei said.
Following his arrest, the court heard, Ousainou told investigators that he and his wife – whom he married in a religious ceremony at a mosque – fought while they were alone in the unit earlier in the day and that her death had been an accident.
He said the deceased had been very emotional, so he used his hands to protect himself but did not remember whether he had hit her in the fray, adding that she had probably fallen onto a cupboard.
He said they then went to sleep, but he found her body was stiff and knew that she was dead when he woke up. He then wrapped her body with the bedsheet and placed the Koran and beads on her out of respect.
Wei said a postmortem examination found extensive reddish bruises all over the deceased’s face – except around her nose and mouth – multiple bloody spots on her eyeball and inside her mouth, and patchy abrasions on her nose, cheek, and the underside of her chin. She also had multiple lacerations on her scalp, fractured ribs, and defensive injuries on her hands and forearms.
Dr. Cheung concluded the cause of death was caused by smothering, the court heard.
Wei will call his first witness when the trial continues before Mr. Justice Alex Lee Wan-tang on Thursday.