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France

Mother goes on trial in horror 'freezer baby' case

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-06-09

A 41-year-old French mother who confessed to the murder of three newborn babies, two of whom were found in the freezer of her Seoul family apartment in 2006, went on trial Tuesday in the French city of Tours.

The trial of Veronique Courjault, a 41-year-old French mother who confessed she had killed three of her newborn babies and frozen two of them in her family home in South Korea, has opened on Tuesday in the French city of Tours

 

Taking the stand in the courtroom Courjault -- who has spent three years in pre-trial detention -- appeared frail and anxious, struggling with erratic breathing and broke down as the trial started.
 

The gruesome case was revealed in July 2006 when Courjault’s husband, Jean-Louis, a French expatriate engineer, discovered two bodies in the freezer of their Seoul apartment while his spouse was on vacation in France. Courjault promptly alerted South Korean police.

 

The news sent shock waves through France and South Korea, where investigators started questioning the couple.

 

The Courjaults, who already have two boys now aged 14 and 12, at first denied being the parents of the newborns. But a DNA test proved otherwise, and they were both charged and arrested

 

Questioned by French investigators, Veronique Courjault confessed she had smothered the two babies in September 2002 and December 2003. However, she denied her husband was involved, claiming that he had been unaware of her pregnancies. She also confessed to the murder of a third baby in France, back in 1999, before the family moved to South Korea.

 

The inquiry later cleared Jean-Louis Courjault of all charges. He has vowed to defend his wife, claiming that she fell victim to a psychological disorder designated as “denial of pregnancy”.

 

“Society has to admit that not all pregnancies are happy. My wife certainly has a problem of a psychological order,” he said. 

 

Veronique Courjault said she had not considered the babies as her own. “I couldn’t feel them in my stomach… For me, they were not children,” she told puzzled psychiatrists.

 

The trial is expected to dwell at length on Veronique Courjault’s psychological profile and the apparent denial of her pregnancies.

Date created : 2009-06-09

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