French nurse admits to smothering her eight newborn babies

A French nurse has admitted suffocating eight of her newborn babies and hiding their bodies at home.

Dominique Cottrez, 46, delivered the children herself, killed them and put them in plastic bags, she told police today.

Cottrez, married with two adult daughters, said that after a bad experience with her first pregnancy she never again wanted to see a doctor.

Two of the babies were buried in the garden of her home in village of Villers-au-Tertre, near Lille, and hid the rest in the garage, prosecutor Eric Vaillant said.

“She explained that she didn’t want any more children and that she didn’t want to see a doctor to take contraceptives,” Mr Vaillant told a news conference. “She was perfectly conscious of the fact that she was pregnant each time.”

Cottrez was charged with the killings today but her husband, Pierre-Marie Cottrez, who was arrested with her, was freed.

The deaths were uncovered after two corpses were discovered by the house’s new owners in plastic bags in the garden. She admitted to killing them at birth about 10 years ago

Under questioning Cottrez admitted that there were six other corpses and said that they were in plastic bags in the garage.

She will undergo further psychiatric testing, Mr Vaillant said.

Her husband claimed that he knew nothing about the pregnancies. His wife is a large woman who apparently easily concealed her condition.

The couple’s two daughters, who are in their 20s, have been questioned. Mr Vaillant refused to provide any further details about them.

Police sealed the doors, gate and windows of the house where the remains of some of the babies were discovered. DNA tests were being held to establish certain if the couple are the parents, and post mortem tests were being conducted to try to determine the cause of death.

France has seen a string of cases in recent years of mothers killing their babies and saving and hiding the corpses.

In one case, Celine Lesage was sentenced in March to 15 years in prison after admitting killing six of her babies, whose corpses were found in plastic bags in her basement.

Veronique Courjault was convicted last year of murdering three of her new-born children. Her husband discovered two of the corpses in a freezer while they two were living in South Korea. During the trial psychiatrists testified that she suffered from a psychological condition known as “pregnancy denial.”

Germany also has seen similar cases. In one, a woman was convicted of manslaughter in 2006 and sentenced to the maximum 15 years in prison for killing eight of her newborn babies and burying them in flower pots and a fish tank in the garden of her parents’ home.

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