Couple held after corpses of eight babies found buried in their garden

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The Independent Online

A couple was taken in to custody yesterday after police found the corpses of eight newborn babies buried in their garden in a village in northern France, a judicial official said. The official added that the couple, in their mid-40s, were the parents of the dead babies, and that the corpses were found on two different parts of the property in Villers-au-Tertre, not far from the city of Lille.

The official was not authorised to be publicly identified because the investigation is under way.

No other information was immediately available. The prosecutor for the Nord region is planning a news conference later today.

France has seen a string of cases in recent years of mothers killing their newborns and saving and hiding the corpses. In one case, Celine Lesage acknowledged in court in March that she killed six of her babies, whose corpses were found in plastic bags in her basement in north-west France. Another Frenchwoman, Véronique Courjault, was convicted last year of murdering three of her newborn children. Her husband discovered two of the corpses in a freezer while they lived in South Korea. Psychiatrists testified that she suffered from a condition known as "pregnancy denial".

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