A mother with two grown-up children is set to appear in court in France today accused of killing and burying at least eight of her own babies.
Dominique Cottrez, 45, is expected to be charged with multiple-manslaughter and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Her crime became apparent when eight newborn corpses were found around the home she shared with husband Pierre-Marie.
If convicted, her husband will also face prison for failing to report the crimes, and for helping to cover up the bodies, which were all found wrapped in plastic bags.
Neighbours are shocked by the discovery, with many describing them as 'pillars of the local community' where they lived with one of their grown up daughters, and a young grandson.
One neighbour said: 'Dominique is a lovely women who was devoted to other family members, and especially children.'
It is believed that the murders started in 1988, and the discovery was only made when the new owners started to dig up the garden to make a pond.
It is feared that Cottrez may have used some of her medical training as a nursing assistant to carry out the killings. She would have had regular access to a variety of potentially lethal drugs.
Police using sniffer dogs and sonar equipment are still investigating the house and its garden for further bodies in the village of Villers-au-Tertre, near Douai. The couple's new home is also being searched.
The couple were immediately taken into custody, where a tearful Cottrez is said to have made a full confession. She even suggested that she had 'lost at least eight babies' since 1988.
Detectives fear that more bodies may be found in the days ahead.
She may have suffered from a psychological condition known as 'pregnancy denial', in which victims convince themselves that the child never existed.
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