Boyfriend to give evidence in baby killing case

The ex-boyfriend of a mother who admits killing six of her newborn babies and hiding their bodies in the cellar will give evidence today.

Frenchwoman Celine Lesage told the court yesterday the children had been born alive. She strangled two and suffocated the others.

Lesage, from Valognes in Normandy, bowed her head and avoided looking at anyone in court while the charges were read. Afterwards, she said in a soft voice: "I acknowledge the facts." She is charged with aggravated homicide.

She was arrested in 2007 after her new partner discovered the corpses in plastic bine bags in the basement of their apartment building in Valognes.

Her lawyer. Veronique Carre, said Lesage "does not contest the facts ... but isn't explaining them either". Several medical and psychological experts are expected to testify in the four-day trial.

"We are here to try to understand you before judging you," the judge told Lesage.

Her former partner, Pascal Catherine, the father of five of the children, was detained for questioning after Lesage was arrested in 2007.

The court was told the father of the sixth was the partner who discovered the corpses, Luc Margueritte.

At the time of her arrest, prosecutor Michel Garrandaux said she described giving birth to the first five alone in the apartment she shared at the time with Catherine.

Mr Garrandaux said the boyfriend "was far from unaware" of her pregnancies. However, the investigation against him was dropped. He will give evidence as a witness today.

The prosecution says that when Lesage and Catherine split up in 2006, Lesage, who also has a son of 14, moved in with her new boyfriend and brought the plastic bags from her old basement to her new one.

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