A German court sentenced a woman to life in jail on Thursday for killing five of her six children, in a case prosecutors described as particularly “malicious”.
The 28-year-old mother, identified only as Christiane K., was found guilty of drowning or smothering the children in the bath in September 2020.
The bodies of her three daughters — aged one, two and three — and two sons aged six and eight were found lying on their beds, each wrapped in a towel, at the family flat in the city of Solingen.
The woman then attempted suicide by throwing herself in front of a train at Duesseldorf station, but she was rescued and did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Her sixth child, a boy who was 11 at the time, survived the grim ordeal because he was in school.
Prosecutors alleged that the mother mixed medication into the children’s breakfast drinks to make them sleepy, before killing them.
They had sought a life term for the “malicious murders”, saying Christiane K. had taken advantage of her children’s innocence and defencelessness.
Judges at the court in Wuppertal in western Germany said the woman would not be eligible for parole for 15 years.
Prosecutors said Christiane K. acted out of anger after seeing a photo of her estranged husband with a new girlfriend.
She told him in an online chat he would never see his children again, according to prosecutors.
Christiane K. had insisted she was innocent and said a masked man entered the flat and killed the children.
But investigators found no evidence to support the claim, and judges dismissed the defence’s request for an acquittal.
Court-appointed psychological experts determined that the accused could be held criminally responsible for her actions.