A mother who killed her five children has been euthanised at her own request – 16 years to the day after their murders, her lawyer has said.
Genevieve Lhermitte slit the throats of her son and daughters – aged three to 14 – with a kitchen knife at their family home in the Belgian town of Nivelles on 28 February 2007.
The children’s father was out of the country at the time of the killings, after which Lhermitte attempted to take her own life, but failed and was charged with the murders.
Psychologists and psychiatrists told her trial jury she was suffering from a severe mental disorder at the time of the killings.
She was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in December 2008, before being moved to a psychiatric hospital in 2019.
The 56-year-old’s lawyer Nicolas Cohen confirmed reports in local media that his client had been euthanised on the 16th anniversary of the killings on Tuesday.
She died at Leonard de Vinci hospital in Montigny-le-Tilleul, according to Belgian news site Sudinfo.
Under Belgian law people can choose to be euthanised if they are deemed to be suffering from “unbearable” psychological, and not just physical, suffering that cannot be healed.
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The person must be conscious of their decision and be able to convey their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner.
Psychologist Emilie Maroit told the RTL-TVI channel that Lhermitte likely chose to die on 28 February in a “symbolic gesture in respect for her children”.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK