Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Diplomatic strain for John Kerry

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

  • Paris hosts its first pro-Israel rally since start of Gaza offensive

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new game plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists as US condemns school shelling

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 crash site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

France

Woman admits to killing her newborns, husband released

Video by FRANCE 2

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-30

A French woman (pictured) has admitted to killing eight of her newborn babies because "she did not want any more children", the local prosecutor said on Thursday. Her husband, who was also accused, has been released without charge.

AFP - A French nursing assistant Thursday admitted suffocating eight newborn babies because she did not want more children and wished to avoid seeing a doctor for contraception, a prosecutor said.

Dominique Cottrez, 45, was charged with murder Thursday after the new owners of her parents' former home at the weekend found the remains of two newborns buried in plastic bags in the garden as they planted a tree.

FRANCE 24's Philip Crowther reports from Villers-au-Tertre

The skeletal remains of the other six infants were later found dumped, also in plastic sacks, in the garage of the mother's current home.

Prosecutor Eric Vaillant told reporters Cottrez admitted suffocating the infants because after having two daughters "she did not want any more children" and did not want "to see a doctor to get contraception."

Cottrez's husband Pierre-Marie Cottrez was freed after denying any knowledge of the killings.

His wife, whose heavy build appears to have concealed the pregnancies from acquaintances, now faces trial and life imprisonment.

Investigators said she had confessed to suffocating the babies shortly after their births between 1989 and 2006 or 2007, and to concealing the bodies from her husband under household clutter in the garage.

The father told officers he had never suspected his wife was pregnant.

In past cases some defendants have said they were in denial about their pregnancies and not fully responsible for their actions, but Vaillant said Cottrez had admitted to being "perfectly aware" of her condition.

Stunned residents of the quiet village of Villers-au-Tertre in northern France put flowers outside the two houses where police had found the infants' bodies over the past few days.

Local priest Robert Meignotte placed eight candles outside the couple's current home where most of the remains were found.

"I'm very upset," he said. "I baptise five children every Sunday in the 17 villages of the parish. You don't just throw children out like that in a big bag. It's incomprehensible."

Prosecutors described it as the worst case of infanticide in recent French history, following a string of similar cases in which isolated and troubled mothers disposed of their newborns.

The suspects were brought before a magistrate in the nearby town of Douai to hear the charges.

Pierre-Marie Cottrez worked as a carpenter and was a respected member of the village council in Villers-au-Tertre, a 620-strong community.

"He's on his third term in office. He used to volunteer in the community. He's a respectable man," local mayor Patrick Mercier told reporters.

Mercier said the councillor's wife was a more withdrawn person who rarely took part in village life. He said she had a weight problem which might be the reason why any pregnancies had passed unnoticed.

"No-one was aware of anything at all," said the shocked mayor, adding that Villers-au-Tertre was a village "where nothing ever happens."

The pair were arrested on Tuesday and questioned while police used sniffer dogs to search the two addresses.

According to Vaillant, the mother quickly confessed and told officers to search the couple's home in another part of the village.

Teams went there and six more sets of remains were found in the garage, tied up in four plastic bin bags and concealed under plant pots and junk.

Gendarmes were deployed outside one of the houses where the bodies were found, and sealed off the entrance to the macabre scene with plastic sheeting.

"I'm still in shock," said a former mayor of Villers-au-Tertre, Daniel Collignon, echoing the sentiments of many local people.

The couple had lived in the village for 15 years and their grown-up daughters have children themselves. Neither showed any sign of unusual behaviour, local residents said.

The incident follows a string of similar cases in France.

Earlier this year a mother was convicted of killing six of her newborn children and hiding them in the cellar of her house in northwestern France.

Another notorious recent case was of a mother who was jailed in June last year for smothering two boys born in secret at her expatriate home in South Korea, and a third child born in France, and hiding them in a freezer.
 

Date created : 2010-07-29

  • FRANCE

    Couple arrested after police find eight dead new-born babies

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Mother who hid her murdered babies in the freezer is released

    Read more

COMMENT(S)