German mother jailed for killing 8 babies

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7 Apr, 2008 Updated Mon 7 Apr 2008 20:49 CEST
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A German appeals court on Monday confirmed a 15-year prison sentence handed to a woman for killing eight of her newborn babies in the country's worst post-war infanticide case.

The court in Frankfurt an der Oder in eastern Germany found that the fact 42-year-old Sabine Hilschenz was an alcoholic did not reduce her accountability for the crime.

“The verdict took into consideration that eight people were killed without having a chance to even begin their lives,” said presiding Judge Barbara Sattler.

The divorced, unemployed dental assistant was found guilty of eight counts of manslaughter in 2006 for routinely killing her offspring. Hilschenz had told investigators that she did not harm the children but left them to die after giving birth alone every time following heavy drinking.

The remains of the babies were found in buckets and flowerpots at the home she shared with her husband, and in an old fish tank at the home of her parents in the town of Brieskow-Finkenheerd in former communist east Germany.

Hilschenz gave birth to nine babies - two boys and seven girls - between 1988 and 1998. She was also accused of killing the first of the nine babies, born in 1988, but the lower court ruled that the time in which she could be charged in connection with that death had lapsed.

Hilschenz divorced her husband, who was believed to have worked for the feared East German secret police, the Stasi, in 2005 after years of marital strife. The couple have three surviving children and the court heard that he had not wanted any more.

He declined to testify in the trial, but a separate investigation has been launched into his role in the affair.




2008/04/07 20:49

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