A 28-year-old woman went on trial in Germany on Monday accused of smothering five of her six children in the bath, in what prosecutors called a particularly “malicious” case.
The accused, identified only as Christiane K, faces a life sentence if found guilty of the murders by the district court of Wuppertal in western Germany.
The bodies of her three daughters aged one, two and three, and two sons aged six and eight were discovered in the family flat in the city of Solingen on Sept 3, 2020.
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 drowning or smothering them in the bath.
The woman then attempted suicide by throwing herself in front of a train at Duesseldorf station, but she was rescued and did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Her sixth child, an 11-year-old boy, survived the grim ordeal because he was in school.
Christiane K claims she is innocent 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.
Prosecutors have charged Christiane K 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.