At the Namur assizes, the accused contests infanticide: “I was planning to leave him in the woods”

At the Namur assizes, the accused contests infanticide: “I was planning to leave him in the woods”
At the Namur assizes, the accused contests infanticide: “I was planning to leave him in the woods”

The defense indicated this straight away before the Namur Assize Court after reading the indictment: “Madame has always formally denied having done anything to this baby to take his life”. For Me Jean-Philippe Mainz, it is therefore clear, the prevention of murder therefore does not hold water.

The trial of Cathy Y., which has just opened before the Assize Court of Namur, is unusual in more than one way. The accused, 48 years old, is being prosecuted for infanticide. She was tried more than 12 years after the events. And the baby’s body was never found.

I got on the ground and gave birth on the floor on towels.

The facts were reported to the public prosecutor’s office by a doctor from the Dinant Hospital Center on June 6, 2012. He explained that the examinations carried out on a patient, admitted in the middle of the night, showed that she had a “hemorrhage of deliverance”implying that she had recently given birth although she denied being pregnant.

Questioned immediately by investigators, Cathy admitted that she had given birth at her home. Tuesday, questioned by the president of the Assize Court, Cathy explained how the events unfolded.

A hidden pregnancy

In 2012, she already had a 13-year-old daughter and another 15-month-old. In April 2012, she realized she was pregnant but “It was not the moment” to have a child. This woman, who admits that she rarely shared her feelings with those close to her, did not speak about it to her husband who, however, had questions.

To hear her say, she was considering giving birth under X in Charleville, which is authorized in France but not in Belgium. On June 5, 2012, late in the afternoon, she was reportedly taken by surprise by the signs that childbirth was imminent. She gave birth in her room upstairs. “I got down on the ground and gave birth on the floor on towels”she explained, her voice broken by sobs.

She cut the cord, went downstairs to get a bottle. The baby would have refused it. “My husband came home and I got scared”, she explained. She placed her newborn in a bag which she hid under the marital bed. The baby, she admits, was born alive: “The chest moved but he did not scream”.

She reportedly stayed on the ground floor for 20 minutes. She didn’t say anything to her husband who went to mow the lawn. When she went back upstairs, the baby was dead: “It was all purple”, she said in tears. She explained to her eldest that she had to run an errand.

She took the bag with the baby: “I put the bag near the passenger seat. I was planning to drop him off in the woods”, did she say. Hearing him, she changed her mind, leaving a first bag with blood clots in the wood. “I wanted to go to the cemetery. There was a car. I left and saw a container at the crossroads”, she said, overcome by emotion. That’s where she said she left the bag. The searches carried out at the Herstal incinerator installations yielded nothing.

Without the knowledge of those close to him

When she returned, her husband and their two daughters were eating. She told them she wasn’t feeling well at all and went to bed. Her husband slept on the ground floor so as not to disturb her. Around 2 a.m., bleeding forced him to call for help.

For the defense, Me Jean-Philippe Mayence, who had wanted to clarify the position of his client before her interrogation, “the prevention of murder therefore does not hold water”. For the lawyer, placing the baby in a bag is negligence which can lead to death. This can therefore only be involuntary homicide due to lack of foresight and/or precaution. “We can say that such facts are established but we cannot condemn” because, for such a qualification, the prescription is acquired after 10 years, reasons the lawyer.

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