Woman convicted for daughter’s murder seeks lesser sentence

Halima Sheilla Bwakali [Photo by Benjamin Sakwa]
A woman who was convicted for murdering her daughter through poisoning has asked the court to show her leniency saying she’s remorseful for her actions.

Halima Sheilla Bwakali, 26 told High Court Judge Jesse Njagi that she is a first-time offender and has consequently been sentenced to eight years imprisonment for attempted murder and attempted suicide.

Sheilla, pleaded guilty to administering diaxonal poison to her two children aged six and four on December 23, 2019 at their Kisa East Village, Khwisero sub-county.

She further admitted taking the same poison in a bid to also kill herself after a difference with her mother over her drunkenness and alleged loss of Sh2, 000 from their house.

The daughter, Rispah Linda succumbed to the poison but Sheilla and her son cheated death by a whisker after they were rushed to Mwihila Sub-county Hospital.

Through Lawyer Allan Otsyeno, the accused told the court she is a single mother of one boy aged four who shall suffer due to lack of parental care during her incarceration.

Mr Otsyeno urged the court to consider a probation report tabled in court recommending that the accused be given a non-custodial sentence and granted psychological counseling.

“The accused herein has been sentenced by the lower court on two counts to serve an eight-year jail term. Even as this court retires to write its judgment, we pray that it exercises discretion to allow the surviving child to have parental care,” said the lawyer.

Sheilla is said to have had a quarrel with her mother, Ruth Auma on a material day over Sheilla’s alcoholic habits.

The court was told that Auma left for church directing her daughter to vacate the house saying she was fed up with her.

Aggrieved by the sentiments, Sheilla went to a nearby agrovet and bought the chemical which she forced the children to ingest.

However, a neighbour who went to the house is said to have noticed that the three had taken poison where they were all rushed to the hospital.

The daughter was pronounced dead on arrival even as the doctors tried to save Sheilla’s life and that of the son who survived the ordeal.

A mental assessment report produced in court painted Halima as a mentally sound woman fit to stand trial.

The probation officers established that there was an outstanding grudge between her and her siblings after her Sh2,000 got missing from the home yet the family wanted her to pack her belongings and leave.

She is said to have been living with her mother after separating with her husband years back.

Kakamega Chief Magistrate Bildad Ochieng’ overlooked the probation report and sentenced Sheilla to seven years in jail for attempted murder and one year for attempted suicide, sentences which are running concurrently.

She is serving the sentences at Kakamega Women Prison.

Justice Njagi slated the judgment for March 14.

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High Court Judge Jesse NjagiKisa East Villagemurdering her daughter