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CRIME

Mother jailed for killing her five newborns

A German court sentenced a married mother of two to nine years in jail on Thursday for killing five of her babies whose births she had concealed.

Mother jailed for killing her five newborns
Photo: DPA

The 29-year-old woman had admitted during the trial in the northern city of Flensburg to secretly giving birth and immediately killing the five newborns between 2006 and 2012.

Three of the infants were suffocated and two stabbed with scissors, the court concluded, finding the woman, who is from the town of Husum and was not named, guilty of five counts of manslaughter.

Although the trial was unable to clarify exactly why the woman killed the infants, she had said in questioning by the police that her husband did not want any more children.

Presiding judge Michael Lembke said that, when it came to pregnancy and birth, the defendant had virtually “suppressed, ignored, completely blanked it out” and that the labour pains had taken her by surprise.

But her actions were always unplanned, he said. Although an offender, she was “no monster”, he added.

A psychiatric assessor ordered by the court said her motive remained unclear.

The woman, who has two children of school age, gave birth at home or in the woods. Two bodies were found in a paper recycling plant and a car park in 2006 and 2007.

Last year when the woman was asked to provide a routine DNA sample as part of investigations, she turned herself in and took police to the bodies of three further babies hidden in her cellar.

Her husband was described at the time the woman was charged as “completely devastated”. He told police he knew nothing about the pregnancies.

The case is thought to be the worst to come to light in Germany since 2005, when a mother was sentenced to 15 years in prison after killing eight of her newborns.

AFP/mry

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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.

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