Saturday 3 December 2016

Daughters defend baby killer as 'model mum'

Woman who suffocated eight newborns 'relieved to be in custody'

Henry Samuel in Paris

Published 31/07/2010 | 05:00

French gendarmes conduct their investigation at the house in the village of Villers-au-Tertre where eight newborn children were killed by their mother Dominique Cottrez. REUTERS/LUC MOLEUX
French gendarmes conduct their investigation at the house in the village of Villers-au-Tertre where eight newborn children were killed by their mother Dominique Cottrez. REUTERS/LUC MOLEUX

THE two surviving daughters of the French nursing assistant who admitted killing eight of her babies have said that "she was a model mother who supported us at all times".

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Dominique Cottrez (45) hid eight pregnancies and births and suffocated the newborn children.

Their bodies were found in bin bags in a garden and garage in France's worst case of infanticide.

Prosecutors said the first of the dead babies was believed to have been born in 1989 and the most recent in 2006 or 2007. Yesterday Mrs Cottrez's two daughters Virginie (21) and Emeline (22) defended their mother.

Virginie said: "We do wonder how she accepted her two grandchildren while all this was going on, but we will be there for our mother."

Emeline who has lived with her mother since the birth of her son, said: "I've raised my own child without a father. Mum was there for me throughout my pregnancy.

"She brought him into the world, and dressed him. We both had tears in our eyes. We never wanted for anything.

"Mum was always there for us, she was always ready to do anything for her daughters. She was the best there is."

Mrs Cottrez has spoken of her relief at being caught, saying she could "no longer carry it on her conscience".

After 20 years, "she doesn't have to carry this on her conscience any more, and that's a kind of relief," said her lawyer, Frank Berton.

He added that Mrs Cottrez was "tired, worn out and battered down" after questioning and "in a state of considerable confusion".

She has been charged with "voluntary homicide on minors under 15" and faces life imprisonment. Relatives said they were surprised that she had carried out and covered up the murders.

"It's incomprehensible. We can't believe something like this could happen," Mrs Cottrez's brother-in-law Yves Cottrez told the daily newspaper 'Le Parisien'.

"And my brother saw nothing, even though he sleeps next to his wife . . . but Dominique was always heavily built, it didn't show when she was pregnant with her two daughters."

Mrs Cottrez's husband Pierre-Marie (45) has denied knowing about the babies being born or killed and has been freed without charge due to lack of evidence.

On Thursday, Mrs Cottrez admitted smothering the newborn babies "because she did not want more children and wished to avoid seeing a doctor for contraception".

She reportedly told police that she had been traumatised by the birth of her first daughter as she had been the victim of mockery over her weight -- she was 21 stone -- and that this in turn led to her refusal to see a doctor.

Mrs Cottrez and Pierre-Marie were detained on Wednesday after two corpses in plastic bags were discovered in a garden by the new owners of a house that had belonged to the woman's father in the town of Villers-au-Tertre in northern France.

The woman admitted that there were six other corpses and told investigators that they were in plastic bags in the garage of her home, where they were found, officials said.

Neighbours in the village expressed shock after learning that Cottrez had killed her newborns. "It's revolting. It is monstrous," said Janique Kaszynski, who lives next door to the couple.

"For me, they aren't human beings. It's monstrous to have killed eight babies."

Police sealed the doors, gate and windows of the house where the remains of some of the babies were discovered.

Earlier this year another French mother, Celine Lesage, was jailed for 15 years after admitting to killing six of her newborn babies and hiding their bodies in the cellar of her home. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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