Mother still denies involvement in Hoogeveen girl's fatal fall
Heleen J. still denies that she was in any way involved in the death of her 8-year-old daughter Sharleyne, who apparently fell to her death from their 10th floor apartment in Hoogeveen on 8 June 2015.
J. is suspected of manslaughter. The Public Prosecutor believes that she strangled the little girl and threw her off the apartment building. J. was acquitted in July 2018 due to lack of evidence. The Public Prosecutor appealed. The appeal case started in the court in Leeuwarden on Monday, Dagblad van het Noorden reports.
J. started by saying that she did not intend to elaborate more about what happened the night of her daughter's death, because she can't remember much. "I put my daughter to bed at 8:00 pm [on 7 June 2015]. I had already had a lot to drink and was busy with an email to Youth Care. Went to bed and woke up from the draft." She said she went to Sharleyne's bedroom to check on her, but her bed was empty. "I looked in the kitchen, she wasn't there. Then at the front door, she wasn't there. Then I looked over the railing to see if she might have been walking. It was awful."
"I don't know what happened after that, the next thing I remember is that I was at the police station."
Witnesses reported seeing Heleen J. look over the railing. Some witnesses said they were concerned she would jump. The police intercepted her later as she was walking to her car. She had two bottles of beer tucked into her pajama pants. When asked why she didn't go to her daughter, she told the court that she was "in a panic".
Police officers who found her said that she said there had been a fight and that her daughter had said she hated her. On Monday Heleen told the court that Sharleyne never used the word hate and that they hadn't been fighting, though there may have been a disagreement because she took Sharleyne's phone. The officers said that the woman made a confused impression at the time.
The police found a note in Sharleyne's room. The note read, translated form Dutch: "Mommy, I hate you." Heleen J. first mentioned the note to the police, calling it a farewell letter, but later said she doesn't remember seeing it. "I don't remember. Sharleyne had a lot of notes," she said in court on Monday.
The court asked Heleen J. about injuries to Sharleyne's neck, which she sustained before the fall. "Maybe something happened while playing?" the judge asked. J. said she doesn't remember Sharleyne getting hurt, but later accused her ex, Sharleyne's father. The judge pressed and again asked what happened. "I have a suspicion, but I don't dare to say what happened," she said, then: "My ex has a history of strangling. He sat on top of me once, that's why I left."
J.'s parents watched Sharleyne four days a week. They last saw the girl the day before her death, on June 7. The grandmother told the court on Monday that she doesn't remember noticing any injuries on the child's neck.
The Attorney General pointed out that a number of witnesses were worried Heleen J. would jump off the apartment building. "Could it be that the stress got to you so much that you wanted to hurt yourself, but you didn't want to go alone?" After an icy silence, she answered: "I didn't do anything to Sharleyne."