Germany baby deaths: Mother jailed for 14 years

Andrea G hiding her face as she arrives for the opening of her trial at the district court of Coburg, (12 July 2016) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms G confessed in a statement during her trial that she had killed several of her babies

A German woman has been sentenced to 14 years in jail over the deaths of four of her newborn babies.

Andrea G, 45, was found guilty of manslaughter, German media report.

The bodies of eight newborns were found in an apartment in Bavaria last year, but she was only charged in relation to four of the deaths due to the state of decomposition of the other four.

Her estranged husband Johann G, 55, was acquitted on charges of failing to stop the deaths.

The case has horrified Germany, correspondents say.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The court has defended its decision not to pass a life sentence in the case

Presiding judge Christoph Gillot defended the decision not to pass a life sentence.

"When a case like this is tried, you suddenly have a lot of people who know what the right thing to do is - that a supposed 'horror mother' should be locked away forever," he said.

"But we first must try to understand this behaviour. That doesn't mean justifying it but rather trying to comprehend it."

Andrea G had admitted involvement in the newborns' death at an earlier hearing.

The eight bodies were discovered at Ms G's home in the small Bavarian town of Wallenfels following a tip-off from a neighbour.

They had all died between 2003 and 2013.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Andrea G and her husband separated and quit the home just before the grim discovery was made

During her trial, her lawyer said that before the first of the eight pregnancies, she and her husband had quarrelled about an abortion, which never took place.

Her lawyer also said she had the babies at home alone, and had wrapped them up in towels and hidden them whether they showed signs of life or not.

The couple each brought two children into the marriage and conceived three more surviving children together.

Prosecutors had accused them of "sexual selfishness, indifference and callousness" over their handling of the pregnancies.

Although they did not want more children, they continued to have sexual relations without contraception and sterilisation, prosecutors had said.

Germany has been horrified by recent infanticide cases.

In May 2015, a woman was sentenced to 44 months in prison for killing two of her children and and disposing of their remains in a freezer, AFP reported.

In October 2013 builders found the bodies of two babies in Bavaria who had been been dead since the 1980s.

And in 2008, a woman was convicted of killing eight of her newborns, then hiding their bodies.

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