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CRIME

French mum confesses to murdering five babies

A French mother was charged Thursday with killing five of her babies in a case solved by DNA evidence obtained years later after a brawl between neighbours.

French mum confesses to murdering five babies
Photo: AFP
Fourteen years after the bodies of four of the babies were found in a forest  (see in tweet below), Sylvie H., aged 53, has admitted to murdering five children, the public prosecutor in the eastern city of Mulhouse told a press conference.
 
   
The killings are believed to have taken place from 1993-1995 and 2003-2005.
 
The body of a fifth baby was found at the suspect's home.
  
The mother, who has three other children aged 18, 27 and 32, revealed this week that she gave birth alone at home each time, without the father's knowledge.
   
Investigators had for years puzzled over who was behind the infants' deaths.
   
An autopsy showed at least two were strangled with cords.
 
But with no DNA evidence linking the babies to a parent, the case went cold until September 2016 when Sylvie H., her partner and her eldest son were involved in a fight with their neighbours.
   
Investigators looking into the dispute took DNA samples from the mother — and to their surprise realised they had a match with the samples taken from the babies in 2003.
 
When officers arrived to arrest the woman at her home in a Mulhouse suburb on Tuesday “she understood immediately why they had come for her” and confessed to the killings, prosecutor Dominique Alzeari said.
   
The father of the children, who appeared “absolutely unaware” of the killings, was “very upset”, Alzeari added.
   
The woman's motives remain unclear. She faces life imprisonment if convicted.
   
In Germany, a woman was sentenced to 14 years in prison last year after being found guilty of killing four of her babies by suffocation.

POLITICS

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Tuesday made a partial apology for chaos at last month's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in Paris, while insisting fake tickets and "delinquency" were mostly to blame.

French minister apologises for Champions League chaos

“Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France (stadium)? The answer is yes. Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes,” Darmanin told RTL radio.

“Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event,” he added.

After scenes of fans crowded into tight spaces and being tear-gassed by police caused outrage around Europe, Darmanin poured fuel on the fire by blaming supporters with fake tickets for the disruption.

UEFA events director Martin Kallen last week told French senators investigating the fiasco that the football body’s count of fake tickets was far short of the tens of thousands claimed by French authorities.

“We don’t believe it’s the number mentioned in France,” he said, adding that 2,600 fake tickets were identified at turnstiles — compared with the number of 30,000 to 40,000 people with fake tickets and without tickets suggested by Darmanin.

“It was a question of fake tickets… that created the difficulties we all know about” of large crowds of fans packed into underpasses or outside locked gates, Darmanin insisted Tuesday.

He added that “if there was something that went wrong at the Stade de France, it was the fight against delinquency”, saying he had already ordered a reorganisation of policing around the venue and that three major matches since had passed without incident.

While some supporters did report being victims of crime by gangs of youths before and after the match, there were also many complaints about police treatment of fans.

Disabled Liverpool fans last week told the Senate how officers sprayed tear gas at people in wheelchairs.

The English supporters have reacted with particular fury to Darmanin’s defence of the French police’s actions.

“People’s memories will forever be tarred by the lack of organisation and heavy-handed policing, and then of course the way authorities tried to deflect blame and scapegoat Liverpool fans for their incompetence,” Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram told AFP earlier this month.

CCTV footage from around the stadium has also been deleted despite the Senate probe.

A government report published earlier this month said a “chain of failures” by French authorities has inflicted “severe damage” on the image of the country as it prepares to host the Olympic Games in 2024.

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