United Kingdom

Mother who 'killed five of her six children' goes on trial in Germany 

A German mother who allegedly killed five of her six children by drugging their breakfast and smothering them after a row with her ex-husband has appeared in court.

Christiane K, 28, is accused of murdering five of her children, aged between one and eight, after feeding them 'high doses' of drugs in Solingen last September.

She today stood trial at the District Court in Wuppertal, Germany, though the mother-of-six did not speak and is not expected to testify.

The defendant fed her children a cocktail of three drugs and 'deliberately brought them into a state of twilight' so they would be more docile, the court heard.

Christiane then took the children into the bathroom one-by-one and drowned or smothered them in the bath, prosecutors claim.

Christiane K, 28, is accused of murdering five of her children, aged between one and eight, after feeding them 'high doses' of drugs in Solingen, Germany, last September

The mother-of-six, who faces a life sentence if found guilty of the murders, alleges the children were instead killed by a masked intruder.

The bodies of Christiane's three daughters aged one, two and three, and two sons aged six and eight were discovered in the family flat in in North Rhine-Westphalia on September 3.

They were found lying on their beds, each wrapped in a towel.

Prosecutors believe the mother mixed medication into the children's breakfast drinks to make them sleepy, before killing them in the bath.

The woman then attempted suicide by throwing herself in front of a train at Duesseldorf Central Station, but she was rescued and did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Christiane K's sixth and eldest child, Marcel, 11, was unharmed and is now being looked after by his relatives (pictured: the mother kissing her eldest) 

A female forensic investigator enters the apartment building where five children were found dead in Solingen on September 3

The bodies were discovered at an apartment building in Solingen, 20 miles from Cologne in western Germany

A hand-print is seen in the window of the apartment building where the defendant lived

Her sixth child, 11-year-old Marcel, survived the grim ordeal because he was in school. 

Christiane has maintained her innocence and says a masked man entered the flat and killed the children.

According to prosecutors, investigators have found no evidence to support that claim.

The motive for the killings remains unclear but prosecutor Heribert Kaune-Gebhardt said the suspect had shortly before had a row with her estranged husband about his new girlfriend.

The man, Christiane's third husband, is the father of four of the six children. 

Prosecutors have charged Christiane with 'malicious murder', saying she took advantage of the children's innocence and defencelessness.

The family was known to social services but local authorities said there had been no indication at the time the children were in danger.

Last year, German police alleged Christiane was suspected of carrying out the murders as she was feeling 'emotionally overwhelmed.' 

Police found the bodies of Melina, one, Leonie, two, Sophie, three, Timo, six, and Luca, eight, after they were alerted by the suspect's mother. 

She had learnt of her grandchildren's fate directly from her daughter.   

'We were informed shortly before 2pm that five children had died and this has unfortunately been confirmed,' police spokesman Stefan Weiand said.

The mother was not at the apartment when they arrived at the scene, they said. 

Rescuers themselves were said to be traumatised by what they found in the building, and also shocked by the state of the flat. 

One report said that rescuers had tried to resuscitate the children but arrived too late to save their lives.  

'The family tragedy in Solingen fills me with great sadness and at the moment my thoughts and prayers are with the five small children whose lives were snatched from them so terribly early,' said Herbert Reul, interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Tim Kurzbach, the mayor of Solingen, said: 'I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news that five dead children have been found in our city.' 

Solingen is a city of 160,000 people around 20 miles from Duesseldorf and Cologne.

Emergency personnel outside the apartment block in Solingen where five children were found

An investigator in forensic gear works on the balcony of the apartment building where a mother is suspected of having killed her five children

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details. 

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