Belgian mother who killed her five children gets life sentence

22nd December 2008, Comments 0 comments

Genvieve Lhermitte guilty of "premeditated murder".

BRUSSELS - A Belgian court sentenced a 42-year-old woman on Friday to life in prison for the murder of her five children in February 2007.

The jury earlier found Genvieve Lhermitte guilty of "premeditated murder," judging that she was of sound mind at the time and could therefore not be acquitted.

Lhermitte slit the throats of son and four daughters, aged three to 14, before trying to stab herself to death at her home in Nivelles, 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Brussels.

Describing the murders as "acts of extreme violence," the judge said that they were "particularly atrocious because they caused intense suffering to her children who felt that their deaths were imminent."

The court ruled that Lhermitte had "vainly and unjustly" tried to share responsibility for the drama with her husband and a close family friend.

During the investigation, she had said that her husband ignored her distress and depression ahead of the murders and had felt invaded by the presence of the family friend.

The jurors rejected a report from psychiatrists which said she had suffered from psychological problems before the murders and could therefore not be held responsible.

The murders occurred in late February 2007, several hours before her husband was due to return from a trip to Morocco.

She called her children aged three to 14 upstairs one by one and killed them with a large knife before laying them out on their beds with stuffed animals in their arms.

She then stabbed herself in the chest before calling the emergency services.


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