Woman, 42, cleared of killing three newborns found in garden

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A woman has been cleared of killing three newborn babies whose bound and decomposing bodies were found in her garden.

The case of the 42-year-old, known as Anita C. under Dutch anonymity rules, came to light after she was admitted to hospital in a critical condition last year.

After doctors discovered the placenta of a recently born child still inside her, a police investigation found the bodies of three infants, concealed in cloths or plastic bags, in her garden and shed in Geleen, near Maastricht.

The case revolved around whether the children were stillborn or had been killed by C after she gave birth.

A clinical pathologist told the court that the state of the bodies made it impossible to be sure whether the children had drawn breath.

The court in Maastricht agreed and cleared C. of charges of infanticide. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year jail sentence for the alleged crimes because they “went beyond what anybody could imagine”.

C., who was adjudged to have mildly diminished responsibility, told the court that she had been unaware each time that she was pregnant. She had stopped taking the contraceptive pill because of financial hardship.

She said none of the infants had shown any sign of life, though she also admitted she had not looked closely.

Prosecutors had argued that the death of the first child should be regarded as manslaughter because there was no evidence that the killing was premeditated, but in the other two cases C. would have been aware of what was happening and should therefore be convicted of murder.

Source: NRC: Anita C. vrijgesproken van doden drie pasgeboren baby’s
Photo by Francesco Mosca

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