A doctor in the US accused of carrying out illegal late-term abortions for cash is facing a potential death sentence, after being charged with the gruesome murders of seven babies and a mother.
Dr Kermit Gosnell, who is on trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, allegedly ran a filthy and dangerous "abortion mill" from his clinic, where he terminated pregnancies after the state's 24-week legal limit.
The 72-year-old doctor is accused in a graphic 281-page grand jury report of forcing vulnerable women to give birth to live foetuses, which he and his colleagues killed using a method they called "snipping".
"He regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors," the grand jury states.
Prosecutors allege that Dr Gosnell's Women's Medical Society was in fact a "baby charnel house" in which foetal remains were left scattered around in freezers, bags and jars.
"Furniture and blankets were stained with blood. Instruments were not properly sterilised. Disposable medical supplies were not disposed of; they were reused, over and over again," they allege.
In an effort to maximise profits, Dr Gosnell and his colleagues, none of whom was a qualified doctor or nurse, "catered to the women who couldn't get abortions elsewhere – because they were too pregnant", the grand jury stated.
It is alleged that after fixing ultrasound scans to make foetuses look smaller, they gave hundreds of pregnant women labour-inducing drugs before "snipping" the live foetuses they delivered.
While records for most of these are said to have been destroyed, Dr Gosnell has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder in cases where investigators discovered documentary evidence.
One, 'Baby A', weighed about six pounds and was breathing and moving after his 17-year-old mother gave birth, prosecutors say.
Joking that the baby was big enough to "walk me to the bus stop," Dr Gosnell allegedly disposed of his body in a shoebox.
Dr Gosnell is also charged with the third-degree murder of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Nepal, who died after being sedated.
The clinic was raided by the FBI in February 2010 and Dr Gosnell's medical licence was suspended. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted. ( © Daily Telegraph, London)