On March 7th, 3-year-old Bernice was with a friend at a Scarborough apartment unit in the same building where she lived with her mom, when she became violently ill at a sleepover and died while in hospital.
It is alleged that 45-year old Francis Ngugi accessed a controlled substance from his place of employment, and placed into a children’s breakfast cereal. Bernice and her friend consumed the breakfast cereal, during a sleep over and became very ill. Both children required hospitalization. Bernice died in hospital from the poisoning while the other child recovered after a lengthy hospital stay.
Francis Ngugi, 45, was arrested on June 19th and originally charged with:
1. two counts of Administer Noxious Substance to Endanger Life (sodium nitrite)
2. two counts of Unlawfully Cause Bodily Harm
3. Criminal Negligence Causing Death
Homicide investigators took carriage of the investigation, on Wednesday, June 30th and upgraded the charges against Francis Ngugi, 45, to:
1. First Degree Murder
2. Attempt Murder
In September Ngugi pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of three-year-old Bernice Natanda Wamala. He also entered a guilty plea to one charge of attempted murder.
On November 2nd, 2023, Justice Maureen Forestell at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sentenced Francis Ngugi to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years