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Mom on trial for babies' murder

THE trial has begun southwest of Paris of a 41-year-old Frenchwoman accused of killing three of her newborn children, burning one and putting the bodies of two others in a freezer.

Veronique Courjault, who is married and the mother of two adolescent children, is charged with murder and, if found guilty, faces life in prison.

Investigators initially suspected that her husband, Jean-Louis Courjault, was involved in or aware of the killings but later dismissed the case against him.

It was Jean-Louis Courjault who alerted authorities in South Korea - where the couple lived at the time - to the presence of the two bodies in the freezer in July 2006.

The couple initially denied the babies were theirs, but police officials said Veronique Courjault later admitted to the slayings, telling investigators she had given birth in secret in 2002 and 2003 and smothered both infants. She also told investigators she had killed another child she bore in 1999 in France and burned the body in a fireplace.

A police official in the city of Tours, 246 kilometers southwest of Paris, said Veronique Courjault made the confessions to a female investigator in October 2006.

She described realizing she was pregnant late in her term and hiding it from her husband because they had not wanted more children for financial reasons, the official said. She sought no medical attention during the pregnancies.

Jean-Louis Courjault was present at the start of the trial. "I love my wife and have come to support her," he told reporters as he entered the courtroom.


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