Belgian mother goes on trial Monday for killing her five children
Woman goes on trial killing her five children by slitting their throats.
The two-week trial in the central town of Nivelles will focus on what drove the 42-year-old teacher Genevieve Lhermitte, who had been on sick-leave for years, to kill her four girls and boy, aged three to 14.
The facts need little clarification since Lhermitte called the emergency services shortly after trying to commit suicide following the murders and has given her account.
One afternoon in late February 2007, several hours before her husband Bouchaieb Moqadem was due to return from a trip to Morocco, Lhermitte called her seven-year-old daughter upstairs, saying she had a surprise.
Lhermitte strangled and then cut the throat of the girl with a large kitchen knife.
Then over the next hour, she killed her four other children one by one in the same way.
She then put the children on their beds with stuffed animals in their arms and stabbed herself in the thorax. Injured but still conscious, she then called the police.
"I have taken the decision to go very far away with my children forever," she said in a farewell letter left in a friend's mailbox shortly before the murders.
In the letter, Lhermitte, who had long suffered from depression, accused her husband of ignoring her distress and attacked Michel Shaar, a doctor who had taken the family under his wing to the point of being overbearing.
"We think that at the moment of the facts, the charged subjectively lived the act as a sort of group suicide with the children," psychiatrists who examined her concluded.