"I have taken the decision to go very far away with my children forever." Geneviève Lhermitte
The Geneviève Lhermitte case is a tragic and complex story that unfolded in Nivelles, Belgium, in the summer of 2007. It involves the murder of five young children by their mother, Geneviève Lhermitte, who later attempted suicide.
Geneviève Lhermitte was a 42-year-old mother of five children who lived with her husband, Bouchaïb Moqadem, in a small town in Belgium. The couple had been married for 15 years and had five children, ranging in age from three to 14 years old. Lhermitte was known to be a devoted mother who spent a lot of time with her children, taking them to various activities and events.
On the night of February 27, 2007, Lhermitte began to suffer from severe anxiety and depression. Her husband was out of town on a business trip, leaving her alone with the children. She called a friend, who advised her to seek medical help. Lhermitte refused and instead spent the night pacing and talking to herself.
The next morning, Lhermitte woke up and began to prepare breakfast for her children. She then took a kitchen knife and began to stab her children one by one, killing them all. She then attempted to commit suicide by slashing her wrists and throat. When her husband returned home that evening, he found his wife unconscious and their children dead.
The police were called, and Lhermitte was taken to the hospital. She was later arrested and charged with the murder of her children. During her trial, Lhermitte claimed that she had been suffering from severe depression and had been under a lot of stress due to financial problems and the demands of motherhood. She also claimed that she had been hearing voices in her head, telling her to kill her children.
The prosecution argued that Lhermitte had been planning the murder for some time and had even researched how to kill her children on the internet. They also pointed out that Lhermitte had made several phone calls and sent text messages to her husband and friends in the hours leading up to the murder, expressing her suicidal thoughts and her desire to kill her children.
In the end, the court found Lhermitte guilty of the murder of her five children and sentenced her to life in prison. The case generated a great deal of public outrage and sparked a national debate about mental illness and the responsibilities of parents.
The case also raised questions about the role of social services and mental health professionals in preventing such tragedies. Lhermitte had reportedly sought help from mental health professionals in the past but had been turned away due to long waiting lists and a lack of resources.