Author: Linda

Irom Sharmila is to stand trial in Leeds

Irom Sharmila is to stand trial in Leeds

‘She sat for him 12 times’: The Nigerian artist who made a bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II

This article was first published in the December 2017 edition of the Spectator magazine. Subscribe for unlimited access. Subscribe today or, for one-time access to all our stories, enter your email

For a Nigerian-born British artist who has worked in London for 20 years, the Queen always seems to come in second.

The Nigerian-born artist, Irom Sharmila, is to stand trial in a Leeds court charged with conspiracy to commit murder, fraud and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

In the UK, it is customary when an artist is prosecuted for alleged fraud to have the trial televised in order to show that justice is done. For the first time ever, Sharmila, who is represented by a QC, is about to be tried before a judge alone in Leeds, where a jury is not available to the media.

Irom Sharmila

But it is the case of her co-defendants, the London-based duo Fiza Adedeji and David Alabi, that has the public transfixed. Adedeji and Alabi were alleged to have conspired to sell the Queen on the black market and then to have thrown her into a canal. Sharmila is said to have offered to take her place. For her part, Sharmila denies the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, fraud and perverting the course of justice.

When news of the trial broke last week, the British media focused on the “royal conspirators”, namely Adediji and Alabi, whom they alleged were acting on behalf of Sharmila, who allegedly had threatened to kill one of the two lawyers representing the couple who came to the UK from Nigeria with the Queen in 2013.

But a closer look at the case in court reveals that there is a different story. The Queen was not abducted. The two lawyers, who are also both Nigerian nationals, claim in their defence that she was “kidnapped” and that they were the victims of “extortion”.

The Queen was abducted by

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