The court in Leeuwarden concluded on Monday that Hélène J. is indeed guilty of the death of her eight-year-old daughter Sharleyne in 2015. The woman who was previously acquitted by the court has been sentenced to nine years and nine months in prison.
According to the court, the scenarios of suicide or sleepwalking are unlikely.
An important pillar is the statement of the upstairs neighbor of J. This man told the police in 2015 that he had heard a noise during the fatal night, followed by a muffled bang and the sound of something being thrown over the railing. .
However, this statement was not included in the file. When the court heard of this testimony in 2017, the judge found it impossible that the story had been influenced by all the information that had previously come out.
In the appeal, however, a memory expert stated that in his opinion the story of the upstairs neighbor can be considered considerably reliable. The court accepts this conclusion. His statement thus forms important proof.
J. has always stated that on the night in question in June 2015, she woke up from the trip and then went to Sharleyne’s bedroom, only to find that she was not there. She would then have walked up the gallery and looked over the railing, after which she would have seen the girl.
Mother spoke of a farewell letter
The court ruled that this statement is implausible. According to the judge, after the find of her daughter, the mother told police that she had a fight with Sharleyne that afternoon in June and that the girl had written a suicide note.
On the relevant note, Sharleyne had written “I hate you”. Precisely because J. describes this as a farewell letter, she knows what happened that night, according to the court. In addition, there was no one else in the house with her and Sharleyne. Incidentally, there is no evidence that the girl was strangled.
The court wanted to impose ten years in prison, but because of the length of the case, three months have been deducted from the sentence. J. was not present at the judgment himself. She still has the option to appeal in cassation.
Sharleyne’s father says through his lawyer Sébas Diekstra that he is enormously relieved. He has finally been able to fulfill the promise to his daughter, according to Diekstra. “Namely bringing the perpetrator to justice and being convicted”, the lawyer explains.