French mother says incest drove her to kill 8 babies
A mother who killed eight of her newborns in a case that shocked France last year told investigators she had been raped by her father and feared the babies were his, a prosecutor said on Thursday.
Dominique Cottrez, a 46-year-old nursing assistant, admitted suffocating the babies whose bodies were found hidden last July in the quiet village of Villers-au-Tertre in northern France.
Cottrez told an investigating judge that her father, who died in 2007, abused her between the ages of eight and 14 as well as several times after she was married, state prosecutor Eric Vaillant told AFP.
"She said that if she killed the babies, it was because she did not want the doctors to find out that they were her father's," said Vaillant.
He added that DNA tests showed at least six of the eight children were her husband's but there was insufficient DNA material to test the other two.
Cottrez said her father was aware of all her pregnancies and she believed he had buried the two dead babies which were found at her parents' former home, the prosecutor said. A further six were found at her own home.
Her husband denied any knowledge of the pregnancies and has not been charged. Officials said at the time that the mother had a weight problem which could have caused her pregnancies to go unnoticed.
Prosecutors last year described it as the worst case of infanticide in recent French history, following a string of similar cases in which isolated and troubled mothers disposed of their newborns.
© 2011 AFP