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CRIME

Mother who killed nine babies speaks out

A woman from the eastern German state Brandenburg told a court that isolation and alcoholism drove her to kill nine of her newborn babies over the years.

Sabine Hilschenz from Frankfurt an der Oder hid the remains of her children in flower pots, buckets and a garden fish tank. Hilschenz, who has three grown up children and a young daughter, told the court that her isolation and alcoholism were behind the killings.

“I did not have friendship,” the 42-year old woman told the court. She said that Oliver Hilschenz, the first man with whom she had sexual contact, was the love of her life. However, she said neither her husband nor her parents provided her with companionship.

It became clear during her first trial that she did not want her husband to know about her pregnancy. The woman who has been pregnant 13 times said that contraception was never discussed in her family. Sabine Hilschenz also said that she was an alcoholic and did not have her addiction under control.

“We already had three children, and my husband didn’t want any more children,” she said, according to the transcript read in court. “I always hoped my husband would notice the pregnancies of his own accord,” Sabine Hilschenz added.

Sabine Hilschenz gave birth to the first baby in a toilet bowl, submerging its head in water while her husband slept in the next room. In 1992 she gave birth in a small hotel while on a business trip in Goslar. She left the baby under a blanket and ignored its whimpers until they stopped.

Too scared to go to a gynaecologist for fear of discovery, Hilschenz kept the next seven pregnancies secret. When her labour began, she would get drunk enough not to recall if the babies were born dead or alive. She wrapped other babies in plastic sheets and left them in flower pots.

“I thought that she had a weight problem,” Oliver Hilschenz said in a police interrogation. He denies knowledge of the pregnancies. DNA tests show that all the babies were his.

This case has raised questions about the society in the former East Germany. Many Germans are asking how neighbours and especially family members failed to notice.

Jörg Schönbohm (CDU), Minister of the Interior for Brandenburg, has suggested that decades of brutal communist rule in the former East Germany could have caused a more brutal society. Three times as many babies have been found dead in eastern Germany as in western Germany in the past decade. Schönbohm’s remarks drew heavy criticism as many perceived his conclusion to stem from western German arrogance. The CDU politician grew up in the former West Germany.

Sabine Hilschenz was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006 for the murder of eight children between 1992 and 1998. The ninth child’s murder was covered by a statute of limitations. The Brandenburg court is hearing an appeal against the severity of the sentence. Hilschenz was said by friends to be a good mother to her four surviving children.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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