Woman kills 8 of her babies over 12 years during incestuous relationship with father
A French housewife is accused of killing eight of her newborn babies, whom she claims she thought were from an incestuous relationship with her father.
Dominique Cottrez, 51, allegedly suffocated the children after secretly giving birth to them on towels in the bathroom of her home.
The murders took place between 1989 and 2000.
Cottrez weighs around 127kg, reported Mail Online.
Her obesity made the pregnancies undetectable – even her doctors, husband, two adult daughters, neighbours and colleagues did not know about it.
Bodies of infants discovered
The crimes only came to light in July 2010 when Mr Leonard Meriaux bought a property belonging to Cottrez’s parents in the French city of Douai.
Mr Meriaux was digging up the garden to build a duck pond when he discovered a body of an infant.
Police found another body in the garden and six more hidden in a laundry basket, the garage and cabinets in Cottrez’s own home.
Dominique Cottrez in court on Thursday. PHOTO: YOUTUBE/AFP
Cottrez told investigators that she feared the babies were born from a sexual relationship with her father which went on up until his death in 2007.
She claimed he raped her when she was a kid and through her teenage years.
The relationship became consensual when she was an adult and continued even after she got married, said Cottrez.
Cottrez told investigators she loved her father more than she loved her husband, reported Sky News.
Phobia of doctors
But testing has revealed that all of the dead infants were fathered by her husband, Pierre-Marie Cottrez.
Some of the children were born while he was away for business.
Cottrez told the investigating judge that she never used contraception or had an abortion because of her phobia of doctors, reported The Guardian.
'Murder as a means of contraception'
The murder trial began on Thursday (June 25).
Cottrez, a former nurse, was in tears even before the proceedings began.
Her lawyer Frank Berton said: "For her, these children had no identity, they were just the results of an incestuous relationship with her father."
Another of Cottrez's lawyers said that despite the killings, she kept the bodies of the infants close to her bed over many years.
"She didn’t just give birth to babies, but extensions of herself, which she was not able to let go of," said lawyer Marie-Helene Carlier.
Mr Yves Crespin, a lawyer for an anti-child abuse group, said: "This is not a case of pregnancy denial, it’s the denial of a child. Mrs Cottrez used murder as a means of contraception."
Cottrez is facing multiple counts of first-degree murder of minors. If found guilty, she can be jailed for life.
Sources: AFP, Mirror, The Guardian, Sky News, Mail Online