Couple in custody as bodies of 8 babies found

FRENCH police are investigating the discovery of the remains of eight newborn babies at houses in the north of the country.

A couple, suspected of being the parents of the infants, were last night in police custody.

It is understood the first two bodies were unearthed by a new resident of the village of Viller-au-Tertre while she was gardening.

She immediately reported her discovery to police and that led to the examination of a second house which was approximately one kilometre away.

Sniffer dogs were brought in and in that property, the remains of six further babies were found.

It is understood the bodies had been stuffed into plastic bags.

French radio reported that the 45-year-old woman in custody told police that the corpses are those of two newborn babies to whom she gave birth in secret. It said she had admitted the killing of a number of others over a period of more than 20 years, all the while keeping her actions from her husband.

Therefore police have not ruled out the possibility that more bodies may be discovered.

“We have found eight bodies of newborn babies in two different locations in Villers-au-Tertre,” the Douai prosecutor, Eric Vaillant, told Reuters. “We have detained two people. They are the father and mother of the children.”

The prosecutor for the Nord region is planning a news conference.

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

In one case, Celine Lesage acknowledged in court in March that she killed six of her newborns, whose bodies were found in plastic bags in her basement in north-west France.

Another Frenchwoman, Veronique Courjault, was convicted last year of murdering three of her newborn children. Her husband discovered two of the bodies in a freezer while the couple were living in South Korea. During her trial, psychiatrists testified that she suffered from a psychological condition known as “pregnancy denial”.

There have also been similar cases in Germany.

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 near the German-Polish border.


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