| 11.2°C Dublin

Parents held as bodies of 8 babies found in plastic bags

A couple were in custody today after police found the corpses of eight newborn babies in a village in northern France, a judicial official said.

The official said the detained couple, in their mid-40s, were the parents of the dead babies.

The corpses were found on two different parts of their property in Villers-au-Tertre, not far from the city of Lille.

The official was not authorised to be publicly identified because the investigation is under way.


Police cordoned off the house with yellow-and-black tape and continued to search the area yesterday. The house stood with doors and windows shuttered last night.

The prosecutor for the Nord region was planning to hold a news conference today.

France has seen a string of cases in recent years of mothers killing their newborns and saving and hiding the corpses.

In one case, Celine Lesage was sentenced in March to 15 years in prison after acknowledging in court that she killed six of her newborns. The corpses were found in plastic bags in her basement in northwest France.

Another Frenchwoman, Veronique Courjault, was convicted last year of murdering three of her newborn children.


Her husband discovered two of the corpses in a freezer while the two were living in South Korea. During the trial psychiatrists testified that she suffered from a psycho- logical condition known as "pregnancy denial."

Germany also has seen similar cases. In one, a woman was convicted of manslaughter in 2006 and sentenced to the maximum 15 years in prison for killing eight of her newborn babies.

She buried them in flower pots and a fish tank in the garden of her parents' home near the German-Polish border.