Maternal infanticide: some recent cases

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A French nursing assistant, Dominique Cottrez, on Thursday admitted killing eight of her newborn babies and stashing their remains in plastic bags, officials said.

Some other recent cases of multiple infanticide by mothers:

- March 2010: A French court sentences Coline Lesage to 15 years in jail for smothering or strangling to death six of her newborn babies between 1999 and 2007 in the Normandy town of Coutances.

- June 2009: Veronique Courjault, a Frenchwoman who killed three of her newborn babies, keeping two of the bodies in her freezer and burning the third, is sentenced to eight years in jail. Two of the crimes were committed while she and her husband, who said he was unaware of what had happened, were living in South Korea. In May this year Courjault was released after having served half her sentence, including detention while awaiting trial.

- March 2006: A 41-year-old Polish woman is given life in prison for having killed five of her babies born over an 11-year period in the eastern town of Czerniejow. The woman's husband, and father of the children, is acquitted on charges of inciting the crime after telling the court he was not aware of his wife's pregnancies.

The bodies had been found in 2003 by two young girls playing in the cellar of the couple's house.

- June 2006: Sabine Hilschenz, a 40-year-old woman from eastern Germany, is convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail for the manslaughter of eight of her babies. She had hidden their remains in buckets and flower pots as well as in an old fish tank in her parents' home.

Hilschenz was also accused of killing another baby, but the court ruled that too much time had elapsed since the incident for her to be charged.

- October 2006: A Dutch court sentences 30-year-old Etta Alderen to three years in prison for killing four of her young babies by drowning them. The judges ruled that Alderen could not be held fully responsible for her actions as she had a grave personality disorder.

The case came to light when Alderen's mother found one of the babies' bodies in a plastic bag at her home. The father was acquitted of being an accomplice to the killings.

- 2002: Andrea Yates, a Texan woman, is jailed for drowning her five children, aged between 7 years and six months, in a bathtub.

In a second trial in 2006 Yates is found not guilty for reasons of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital.

© 2010 AFP

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