France infanticide mother's 'relief' after confession

Undated picture of Dominique Cottrez Dominique Cottrez is being detained while the investigation continues

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A French mother who admitted killing eight of her newborn babies is relieved that her secret is finally out in the open, her lawyer has said.

Dominique Cottrez has been placed under investigation over the deaths, which happened between 1989 and 2006.

Frank Berton said his client was "tired, worn out and battered down" after her questioning.

"She doesn't have to carry this on her conscience any more, and that's a kind of relief," he added.

Dominique Cottrez

  • Confessed to killing eight of her own newborn babies and concealing the remains
  • Has two grown daughters in their 20s who are mothers themselves
  • Said she had not wanted further babies after problems with her first delivery
  • Pregnancies went unnoticed because of her weight - said to be 130kg (20st)

Being placed under investigation is the first stage of criminal proceedings that can lead to charges.

Mrs Cottrez could face charges of voluntary homicide of the babies.

Mr Berton said Mrs Cottrez would undergo psychological tests to determine whether she was fully responsible for her actions, and said he believed that prosecutors may have been "a bit quick" to say she was fully aware of what she had done.

"For her part, she's said what is essential," he said, referring to her telling investigators where a further six bodies were, after the first two were found.

Map of Villers au Tertre

"To analyse why it happened, that she doesn't know," he added.

He said that Mrs Cottrez might not face charges over five or six of the deaths because of the statute of limitations.

Multiple infanticide in France

  • 2010, Nord region: Dominique Cottrez confesses to killing eight of her babies
  • 2010, Lower Normandy: Celine Lesage jailed for killing six of her babies
  • 2003, Alsace: Remains of four babies found in bags in forest - at least three had same parentage; parents not found
  • 1984, Limousin: Jean-Pierre Leymarie and his wife Rolande jailed for killing seven of their babies

In a news conference on Thursday, the prosecutor in the case said Mrs Cottrez had said she was fully aware of her pregnancies, but that she had not wanted any more children and did not want to see a doctor for contraception.

The remains of the infants were found in the village of Villers-au-Tertre, near the northern city of Lille, on Wednesday.

Two were found in a house that had belonged to the parents of the arrested woman, and the others were found in the Cottrez's house in the village.

Her husband, Pierre-Marie Cottrez, had initially faced investigation for allegedly concealing the bodies and not reporting crimes, but he has been freed without charge.

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