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Mother admits killing six of her own children

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-03-16

A 38-year-old French woman has admitted smothering six of her newborn babies. The case only came to light after the father of one of the children found decomposing bodies in rubbish bags in the cellar of Celine Lesage (photo).

A 38-year-old French mother went on trial on Monday for killing her six newborn babies and hiding their bodies in rubbish bags in her cellar.

In a horrifying admission to a court in the northern French town of Coutances Monday, Celine Lesage told how she had killed the six children between 1999 and 2007.

Asked whether the infants were alive when she smothered them, Lesage hesitated and said "I cannot answer" before finally adding: "Yes, your honour."

Lesage, who has a 13-year-old son, is accused of first degree murder and faces life in prison with no possibility of parole for 18 years.

She was arrested in October 2007 after Luc Margueritte, her partner and father of one of the murdered children, discovered decomposing bodies stuffed in garbage bags in the basement of their apartment building.

As a possible victim of the crime, Margueritte is now a civil plaintiff in the case.

‘A shy woman’

Investigators have described Lesage as a shy woman with no apparent mental problems. She claims she lived in fear of another of her ex-partners and father to five of the murdered babies, who she accuses of being violent.

But the investigation did not find that the man, 39-year-old plumber Pascal Catherine, had a "domineering attitude," according to court documents.

Catherine was charged in connection with the case in 2007 but he was cleared of any wrongdoing and is due to testify at Lesage's trial.

A verdict is due on March 18.

Last June, French woman Veronique Courjault was sentenced to eight years in jail after she admitted killing three of her own babies, burning one of the children and hiding the others in the family freezer.

Date created : 2010-03-15

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