Israeli Woman Who Spilled Boiling Oil on Her Mother Charged With Negligent Homicide

Prosecution apparently accepts Sapir Nisani's claims that she accidentally spilled oil on her mother, resulting in fatal injuries.

Israel Police at a crime scene (illustrative photo).
Shiran Granot

Sapir Nisani has been accused of negligent homicide in connection with her mother’s death, but not for manslaughter or murder, as had initially been suggested by the police.

Nisani apparently spilled hot oil on her mother in late April. The mother, Miriam Nisani, died of an infection last week while being treated for her injuries in the hospital. She had spent several weeks in a coma, on artificial respiration.

The indictment, filed in Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court on Monday, states that Sapir, who lived with Miriam in Kfar Sava, was constantly arguing with her over matters such as cleaning the house, particularly the kitchen. Because Sapir apparently made such a mess, especially with spices, while preparing food, Miriam locked up all the spices in a closet in her bedroom and hid the key under her pillow at night when she slept, according to the charge sheet.

On the day of the incident, at around 1 A.M., Miriam went to sleep in her room, while at the same time Sapir went into the kitchen to cook something. Sapir put about a liter of oil in a pot, heated it to a high temperature and stirred it constantly, the indictment said. She then wanted to add salt to what she was making and decided to sneak into her mother’s room and take the key from under her pillow, to retrieve the salt from the closet.

Sapir thought she had to stir the pot constantly so she decided to bring it with her into the bedroom. She apparently told investigators that she had initially wondered whether to do so, because of the safety risk involved.

For its part, the prosecution claims that she held the one of the handles of the pot in an unsafe way, and did not turn on the light in order not to awaken her mother, making do with the light coming in through the doorway from the kitchen.

Nisani claimed throughout the investigation that she tripped over a robotic vacuum cleaner in the dark and dropped the pot of hot oil, and that the resulting injury caused by the spillage on her mother was accidental.

Miriam was severely burned on her upper body. Sapir tried to shower and treat her immediately, and called an ambulance, she told investigators.

Nisani’s lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office said: “Despite all the reports of serious suspicions against Sapir, after the prosecution examined all the investigative materials, they were convinced of the truth of Sapir’s version – that this was a tragic incident caused by an unfortunate accident, and that Sapir had no intention of harming her mother.”

The central district prosecutor’s office stated: “The decision to indict the defendant for negligent homicide was made after an in-depth examination of the evidence in the case revealed inadequate evidentiary foundation for proving intentional injury to her mother on the part of the defendant, as was originally suspected.”