Belgian mother who killed her five children euthanised

Belgian mother

A 56-year old Belgian mother who murdered her five children has been euthanised at her own request.

It is 16 years since Genevieve Lhermitte (pictured left and far right) killed her son and four daughters, aged three to 14 on 28 February 2007, while their father was away.

She then tried to commit suicide. After failing to do so, she called emergency services for help.

Lhermitte was sentenced to life in prison in 2008. In 2019 she was moved to a psychiatric hospital.

In Belgium the end of life law allows for people to choose to be euthanised.

They must be deemed to be suffering from “unbearable” and incurable psychological as well as physical suffering.

In addition, the person must be conscious of their decision and 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.

Psychologist Emilie Maroit says the Belgian mother likely chose to die on 28 February in a “symbolic gesture in respect for her children”.

“It may also have been for her to finish what she started, because basically she wanted to end her life when she killed them,” Maroit says.

The deaths of the five children and their mother’s subsequent murder trial rocked Belgium.

During the trial, Lhermitte’s lawyers argued she was mentally disturbed. She should not be sent to prison, they declared.

The jury found her guilty of premeditated murder however.

She was sentenced to life in jail.

In 2010 Lhermitte filed a civil lawsuit demanding up to three million euros (£2,655,840) from a former psychiatrist. She claimed his “inaction” failed to prevent the murders.

Ten years later, she ended up abandoning the legal battle.

Last year, 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium. Their number had increased by 10 percent in comparison with 2021.

Cancer remains the most common reason for people wishing to be euthanised.

However, officials say in nearly three out of four requests the patient presented “several types of suffering, both physical and psychological”.

Since 2014, Belgium has allowed children to be helped to die as well as adults.

They must be terminally ill, in great pain and have parental consent.



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