Belgian mother who killed five children euthanised 16 years on
Posted March 3, 2023 by: Admin
In a tragic and deeply saddening event, Genevieve Lhermitte, the Belgian woman who murdered her five children in 2007, has passed away through euthanasia at the age of 56, 16 years to the day after their killing. Lhermitte slit the throats of her son and four daughters aged three to 14 with a kitchen knife at the family home in Nivelles, while their father was away. She then tried to commit suicide but was unsuccessful and ended up calling the emergency services.
Lhermitte was sentenced to life in prison in 2008, before being moved to a psychiatric hospital in 2019. Belgian law permits people to choose euthanasia if they are experiencing “unbearable” psychological suffering that cannot be healed, provided they are conscious of their decision and can express their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner. Lhermitte’s lawyer confirmed that she had followed this specific procedure, with various medical opinions collected to support her decision.
Psychologist Emilie Maroit suggested that Lhermitte may have chosen to die on February 28 in a symbolic gesture in respect of her children, and to finish what she started as she had intended to end her life when she killed them. The quintuple murder in 2007 and the subsequent trial rocked Belgium, with Lhermitte’s lawyers arguing that their client, who had regularly seen a psychiatrist, was mentally disturbed and should not be sent to prison. However, 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 three million euros from a former psychiatrist, alleging his “inaction” had failed to prevent the murders. Still, she abandoned the legal battle after ten years without success. Last year, 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium, with cancer remaining the number one reason cited. However, officials reported that for nearly three out of four requests, the patient presented “several types of suffering, both physical and psychological.”