Mother jailed on appeal for killing eight-year-old girl who fell from balcony

Photo: Depositphotos
A gavel in a courtroom.
Photo: Depositphotos

A woman has been jailed for nine years and nine months for causing the death of her eight-year-old daughter, who fell 10 storeys from a tower block.

The appeal court in Leeuwarden ruled that Heleen J. ’caused or allowed’ her daughter Sharleyne to fall from the balcony of her flat in Hoogeveen, Drenthe, in the early hours of June 7, 2015.

Witnesses said she had been drinking at the time and went to her car immediately after the incident rather than calling emergency services. Child protection services had been monitoring the family for several years after receiving reports of domestic abuse, neglect and alcohol abuse.

The court overturned her acquittal by the district court in Assen, which said there was not enough evidence to convict her of manslaughter. Appeal judges said the testimony of witnesses and the girl’s injuries proved she was responsible for Sharleyne’s death.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year jail sentence for J., but the court reduced the term by three months because of the length of time the proceedings had taken.

The prosecution service initially declined to bring a case against J., but its hand was forced by Sharleyne’s father, Victor Remouchamps, who successfully challenged the decision in the appeal court. Remouchamps separated from J. in 2011.

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