SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Mother guilty of killing and freezing babies

A German mother was sentenced to more than four years in jail on Monday for killing two of her babies, whose bodies she stashed in the family freezer. She was not tried in connection with a third baby, also found in the freezer, who died over 20 years ago because the statute of limitations on the case had expired.

Mother guilty of killing and freezing babies
Monika Halbe entering court at the start of the trial. Photo: DPA

44-year-old housewife Monika Halbe was handed a four year and three month prison sentence for manslaughter after admitting to hiding the bodies of three baby girls in the family freezer. However, she denied killing them.

The macabre case made national headlines in May after the defendant’s teenage son discovered the girls’ tiny corpses in plastic bags when looking for a pizza in the basement freezer.

Prosecutors had demanded eight and half years in prison for Halbe at the start of the trial in this western town. Halbe’s lawyer Andreas Bartholome had asked that his client be acquitted or given a suspended jail sentence, noting that Halbe, who already had three children, had been deeply ambivalent about having more babies and was also terrified of doctors and had suffered from alcoholism.

Prosecutors charged her with two counts of manslaughter for killing one daughter in 1988 and another between 2003 and 2007. A third girl is believed to have been killed in 1986 or 1987.

“She was not afraid of the babies being found,” Bartholome said. “Above all, she wanted to have the babies near her.” Halbe’s husband and the family’s three grown children said they had been unaware of the pregnancies. The grim case revived a debate about the state of child welfare in Germany after several high-profile cases of killings by mothers came to light.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

SHOW COMMENTS