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Man stands trial for poisoning baby daughter

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Man stands trial for poisoning baby daughter
The accused in court on Tuesday. Photo: DPA
15:20 CET+01:00
A zookeeper is on trial in Potsdam accused of attempting to murder his 8-month-old daughter, feeding her poison until her condition was so severe she fell into a coma.

Prosecutors say the 36-year-old man, originally from Schleswig-Holstein, administered the disinfectants and cleaning products containing citric acid to his daughter over a period of weeks because she was getting in the way of a new relationship.

The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten reports that the slow-motion murder attempt began on March 14 2014 and continued over a period of three months.

"I love my children," the accused said in court on Tuesday. "I know that I could never do anything to my daughter".

He appeared to be attempting to shift blame to his former partner, the girl's mother, saying that she never wanted to have a second child.

"Our relationship suffered" from her unhappiness after the birth, he said.

After the child stopped putting on weight and ceased to grow, she was taken to hospital in March 2014.

Prosecutors argue that after her admission, the man continued to try and poison her by using disinfectant, even as she lay in a coma,

Doctors noticed that the baby's condition always worsened when her parents came to visit.

He is accused of administering the chemicals on at least 12 separate occasions.

In statements to the court, the prosecution described the child, now 20 months old, as having made a good recovery.

"She is now very alert," said barrister Manuela Krahl-Röhnisch.

The child now lives with her mother, who has since split from the father, in the vicinity of Hamburg, along with another of the former couple's children.

At first the child was put in care after prosecutors suspected the mother. Doctors assumed it to be a case of Munchausen by proxy syndrome, in which parents deliberately harm their children, or invent illnesses for them, in order to attract sympathy.

The trial, which began on Thursday, continues until July 9th.

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