Belgian mother who murdered 5 children euthanised 16 years after killings
A Belgian mother who murdered her five children has been euthanised at her own request 16 years after the killings.
Genevieve Lhermitte slit the throats of her son and four daughters – aged three to 14 – with a kitchen knife at their family home in the town of Nivelles on February 28, 2007.
She then carried out a failed suicide attempt by stabbing herself but ended up calling the emergency services.
Lhermitte, 56, was sentenced to life in prison in 2008, before being moved to a psychiatric hospital in 2019.
Her lawyer Nicolas Cohen has confirmed that his client died through euthanasia on the 16th anniversary of the killings on Tuesday.
Belgian law allows for people to choose to be euthanised if they are deemed to be suffering from “unbearable” physical or psychological suffering that cannot be healed.
The person must be conscious of their decision and be able to express their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner.
“It is this specific procedure that Mrs Lhermitte followed, with the various medical opinions having been collected,” her lawyer said.
The quintuple murder in 2007 and the subsequent trial rocked Belgium.
Lhermitte’s lawyers argued that their client, who had regularly seen a psychiatrist, was mentally disturbed and should not be sent to prison.
But the jury found her guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to life in jail after hearing conflicting medical expertise.
In 2010 Lhermitte filed a civil lawsuit demanding up to €3 million (£2.6 million) from a former psychiatrist alleging his “inaction” had failed to prevent the murders, but she ended up abandoning the legal battle after 10 years without success.
Last year 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium, an increase of 10 per cent compared to 2021, according to the authorities.
Cancer remains the number one reason cited, but officials said for nearly three out of four requests the patient presented “several types of suffering, both physical and psychological”.