Dead bodies of five babies found at house in southern France

A man called the police after he found the body of a newborn baby in the freezer at his family home

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The Independent Online

The bodies of five new-born babies – four of them hidden in a deep-freezer– have been discovered in a rural home south of Bordeaux in south west France.

The horrific discovery, the latest in a series of similar incidents in France, began when a 40-year-old father of two found the remains of a newly-born infant in a freezer bag in a bedroom in his family bungalow on Thursday.

Gendarmes were called to the house and found the remains of four other new-borns in the freezer. The man’s 35-year-old wife has been taken to hospital for medical and psychiatric tests.

Her husband, a farm-worker, is reported to be in a state of shock. He told the investigators that he and his two daughters, aged 13 and 15, knew nothing of the five pregnancies.

Autopsies are to be performed on the five tiny corpses today to discover whether they died at birth or were murdered. A police spokeswoman said that the woman “does not appear to have a history of mental illness”.

In 2010 eight new born babies were found buried in the garden of a home in Villers-au-Tertre, near Lille in northern France. Their mother, Dominique Cottrez, has admitted murdering them and claims to have been the victim of repeated acts of incest.

Another Frenchwoman, Véronique Courjault, was jailed for eight months in France in 2009 after the bodies of two newborns were found in the freezer of her home in 2006 when she was living in South Korea. In both those cases, investigators said the husbands of the women knew nothing of the pregnancies or the infanticides.

The latest incident began on Thursday morning when the father of the family, a 40-year-old farmworker, found the remains of a newly born infant inside a freezer bag in a bedroom at his isolated bungalow at Louchats, 30 miles south of Bordeaux.

He informed the gendarmerie who searched the house and found the remains of four other new-borns in a freezer. Investigators believe that the baby found in the bedroom was born on Tuesday after the mother managed to hide her pregnancy from her family and friends.

In a statement to the French news agency, AFP, the gendarmerie said they had “discovered four further bodies of babies as well as the newborn found earlier”. It appears that “the mother gave birth at home alone,” the statement said. “She appears at this stage not to have a history of mental illness.”

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