Stepmother murders child with salt-laced pudding

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2005, LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY - A court in Germany Friday heard how a stepmother poisoned her new husband's 4-year-old daughter by forcing the girl to eat chocolate pudding laced with a lethal dose of table salt.

15 July 2005

LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY - A court in Germany Friday heard how a stepmother poisoned her new husband's 4-year-old daughter by forcing the girl to eat chocolate pudding laced with a lethal dose of table salt.

Prosecutors said the 22-year-old woman put six heaped tablespoons of salt in the desert pudding which she then forced the child to eat.

The girl suffered cerebral seizures and respiratory haemorrhaging and was rushed to a local hospital where she died March 27.

Doctors initially were baffled by the death until relatives hinted at a history of abuse. An autopsy revealed her bloodstream contained large quantities of sodium chloride - the prime element in household table salt.

Confronted with the evidence, the stepmother claimed the girl must have taken the salt without her knowledge. But investigators said only the mother had access to salt, kept in an overhead cupboard.

A forensics expert told the court Friday that the girl had been administered 30 grams of cooking salt.

"It's certainly possible that a child might confuse sugar and salt. But after one bite the child would spit it out. It is wholly inconceivably that any child would willingly consume that much salt," said the expert witness.

"It's physically impossible to swallow that much salt without gagging unless someone is standing over you forcing you to do so," the expert said.

Prosecutors also said the mother was the only member of the family who was at home when the poisoning occurred. Investigations were dropped against the father because he was at work at the time.

The stepmother summoned paramedics only after the girl had gone into convulsions several hours after consuming the salt.

The girl's natural mother testified that her ex-husband's new wife had made no secret of her loathing for the child.

"She was the epitome of the cruel and wicked stepmother. Out of spite, she never let me near my daughter," the mother testified through tears.

"I arrived at the hospital just as the doctors pronounced my little girl dead. I knew it was murder," she said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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