Mum who killed her children euthanised at own request on anniversary of killings

A Belgian mother who killed five of her children has been euthanised on the 16th anniversary of the killings, at her own request.

Genevieve Lhermitte, 56, slit her children's throats with a kitchen knife in the city of Nivelles in a horror attack while her husband was visiting family in Morocco in 2007.

She was given euthanasia for medical reasons in the municipality of Montigny-le-Tilleul, Belgium, on February 28.

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It was thought she originally planned to take her own life on the day of the murders, with one local psychologist suggesting after her death that she was trying to "finish what she started".

Lhermitte's lawyer had pleaded insanity at her trial in 2007, arguing she could not be held responsible for her actions.

But the insanity plea was rejected by judges, who sentenced her to life imprisonment.

She eventually left prison in the municipality of Forest in 2019 and entered a psychiatric centre in the municipality of Manage.

After spending two years at the centre she was briefly moved to a more open facility, but returned soon afterwards following a suicide attempt.

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Belgium is one of four countries in Europe that allow doctors to take the lives of patients at their request, and one of only two along with the Netherlands that grant the procedure for people suffering from mental illness.

Discussing how Lhermitte became eligible for the procedure, psychologist Emilie Maroit told local media: "There are three main conditions for being able to be euthanised.

"It's unbearable physical or psychological suffering, which is certainly her case. A medical case deemed hopeless.

"The evaluation is done by doctors, especially at the psychological level. And then, the patient must clearly and repeatedly express their desire to resort to euthanasia."

Lhermitte's funeral took place following her cremation in the town of Gilly on March 1.

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