Woman kills husband in row over unpaid utility bill
A wife who delivered 19 knife wounds to her husband in a dispute over an unpaid utility bill, killing him in front of their young son, must spend a total of six years, eight months in prison.
Hermina Jackson pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of provocation last month and was sentenced at the High Court this Wednesday.
Jackson, a mother of five children, was wife to Henry Jackson for over 15 years until he died at the age of 67 on July 11, 2017.
On this day, there was a build-up of emotional tension and anger between the two, caused by Hermina questioning her husband about money she had given him some time ago to pay a utility bill.
An argument followed this inquiry, and Henry left their house, which is located in La Croix. However, when he returned, an argument started up again surrounding the issue of the bill.
Hermina, in her anger, lit a mattress afire. Subsequently, she extinguished these flames, but the two then entered a physical brawl.
Hermina, in the kitchen, armed herself with a knife. The children were present at the house, including their eight-year-old son, and the children tried to intervene and separate them.
When they were separated, Henry collapsed from the wounds, and his children and wife tried to resuscitate him.
They were unsuccessful and he was unresponsive. Henry was pronounced dead at the Evesham Health Centre.
Before Justice Brian Cottle on Wednesday, Hermina’s lawyer, Grant Connell, read a letter that he said his client had written at his chambers.
“My relationship with my husband was not perfect but there was never any serious problem or cases of violence between us,” she wrote.
“I’m very, very sorry and sad at what happened, because my children, especially my young son lost his father. I took him from them, that should never have happened. I regret it daily,” the letter reads.
Her husband had his weaknesses, which were gambling and drinking, she admitted, but also said that she realized her own weakness while incarcerated.
“I never had any intention to harm my husband, and he didn’t deserve to die that way, after so many years of us together. There wasn’t even a goodbye,” she also wrote.
She feels deep regret at the loss of her husband, who was a good man and father to her children especially their young son, she stated.
Her lawyer, in mitigation, pointed out that it was struggle. Justice Cottle in reviewing the facts also stated that the defendant had gotten minor injuries in the fight with her spouse.
Connell continued, “her husband fell to the ground, and immediately, immediately, it turned from an argument and a struggle, into a rescue.”
The social inquiry report showed that Hermina helps other prisoners, and participates in sewing classes. She uses her money to send her son birthday cards from prison.
Residents of La Croix see her as a hardworking, loving parent.
Connell asked the court to consider that her 10-year-old son is without either of his parents, and he is about to do the primary exit exam.
“The absence of his mother is having the effect that any little boy would experience in the absence of his mother,” he indicated.
Justice Cottle started at 15 years for the offence, which is the normal starting point of the court for manslaughter.
He found the aggravating offences to be the use of a weapon, that “there was some 19 wounds inflicted on the deceased”, and the killing was done in the presence of a minor child.
He noted that Connell said that eight of the wounds are to the upper arm.
On the other side, the offence was unplanned, was part of a domestic brawl, was the result of “significant provocation”. Hermina has no previous conviction and was 49 at the time, she attempted to assist her husband, and expressed remorse.
In light of everything, the court moved down to a 10-year sentence, and travelled further down because of the third discount for her guilty plea.
The scales rested at a final sentence of six years, eight months. However, Hermina has been on remand for two years, four months and 27 days,She will have to spend four years and three months more in prison.
Cottle commented, “I am comforted by the progress that she has made in the time that she has been on remand and I hope that her rehabilitation continues along those lines.”