Frenchwoman confesses in frozen baby case

12th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 12, 2006 (AFP) - A Frenchwoman wanted in South Korea on possible infanticide charges after the bodies of her two babies were found in a freezer in her home there has admitted she killed the children, her lawyer said Thursday.

PARIS, Oct 12, 2006 (AFP) - A Frenchwoman wanted in South Korea on possible infanticide charges after the bodies of her two babies were found in a freezer in her home there has admitted she killed the children, her lawyer said Thursday.

Véronique Courjault, 39, confessed to French police Wednesday that she gave birth to the two boys — reversing nearly three months of denials — and killed them afterwards, lawyer Marc Morin told France Info radio.

"Mrs Courjault has admitted to the allegations of infanticide made against her. She said she acted alone and without her husband's knowledge," Morin said.

"At no time, I believe, was Jean-Louis Courjault aware of his spouse's pregnancy," he said.

The lawyer said Véronique Courjault had only admitted what had happened to her husband after the two of them were detained for questioning late Tuesday, following a French DNA test that confirmed the woman was the mother of the dead children.

The couple remain in custody pending a decision from French justice officials whether to place one or both of them under criminal investigation — a preliminary step to charges being laid.

It was not immediately known whether France was considering extraditing Veronique Courjault to South Korea, which has issued a summons for the couple. The two countries do not have an extradition agreement.

South Korea's investigation into the dead babies began July 23, when Jean-Louis Courjault, a 40-year-old executive for a US car parts company, contacted police to say he had discovered their bodies in the freezer of the home he shared with his wife and their two sons — aged 10 and 11 —  in the Sorae Village district of Seoul.

After being questioned, he was released to join his family in France on vacation. He and his wife resolutely denied any knowledge or connection to the babies.

But then an initial South Korean DNA test on the babies determined the couple were the parents of the babies. A second DNA test soon confirmed that, fuelling a media storm in South Korea.

In August, the couple called a news conference to say they would not be returning to South Korea because they believed they were the victims of a "media lynching" there. They again denied being the parents of the newborns.

It was only when French authorities said their own DNA tests convinced them that the Courjaults were not telling the truth and detained them that Veronique Courjault changed her story.

Morin announced that she had confessed to the "allegations" against her, but did not specify what she said until his radio interview on Thursday.

He said the husband "was in a state of shock" over what happened.

Friends and relatives of the Courjaults said they never noticed any pregnancy, and Jean-Louis Courjault's mother, Geneviève Courjault, said Wednesday that despite the confession, she still did not believe her daughter-in-law was really the mother of the babies.

"I don't believe it ... it is not credible. She confessed because she was exhausted. She was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and they got her to say what they wanted her to say," she told AFP.

According to information from South Korea, it appeared Véronique Courjault allegedly gave birth to the two babies before December 2003 — the month in which she underwent uterus ablation surgery, a procedure one step removed from a hysteroctemy that usually leaves the patient sterile.

Investigators believe she must have kept the corpses of the babies hidden since then, up to July this year when her husband alerted police.

"I remind you that he was the one who told the police. He went to the police without prompting. He gave DNA samples. So it is out of the question that he could have even for a moment suspected that these children were his," Morin said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article