A Belgian woman who murdered her own children has been euthanized on her own request, 16 years after the heinous crimes that shook the country, according to reports. Genevieve Lhermitte, then 40, used a kitchen knife to cut the throats of her son and four daughters, ages three to fourteen on February 28, 2007.
Lhermitte committed the murders at the family home in the town of Nivelles, while her husband was away visiting his parents in Morocco. Lhermitte also tried to end her own life by stabbing herself, but the attempt failed and she ended up calling the emergency services, following which she was arrested.
Dies from Her Own Guilt
Lhermitte murdered her five children aged between three and then tried to end her own life. However, she couldn't muster the courage to commit suicide and ended up calling the emergency services.
Following that Lhermitte was arrested and received a life sentence in jail in 2008 before being transferred to a mental health facility in 2019.
On Tuesday, on the 16th anniversary of the murders, the 56-year-old's attorney Nicolas Cohen confirmed claims in the local media that his client had died via euthanasia.
Her funeral was held on Wednesday, according to Belgian news outlet Sudinfo, which first reported her death.
Lhermitte stole two knives from a grocery store before preparing a family lunch on the day of the killings. She then shut the front door and started killing her five children one by one. Lhermitte later testified in court that she felt "desperate and trapped" at home with the kids.
She told the court: "I gave [my husband] a son and killed him. I've lost all children through my own fault. They never deserved it. I shall suffer to the end of my days - that is my punishment."
The attack claimed the lives of Yasmine, 14, Nora, 12, Myriam, 10, Mina, 7, and Mehdi, 3.
Left Only With Repentance
After the passing of their children, Lhermitte, who had previously been referred to be a "perfect mother," divorced her husband.
In Belgium, euthanasia is an option available to those who are regarded to be experiencing "unbearable" psychological suffering as well as physical pain that cannot be relieved.
The person must be aware of their choice and be able to articulate it in a clear, consistent manner.
"It is this specific procedure that Mrs Lhermitte followed, with the various medical opinions having been collected," her lawyer said.
The 2007 quintuple murder and the trial that followed left Belgium shaken. The defense team for Lhermitte contended that their client, who frequently saw a psychiatrist, was mentally ill and shouldn't be imprisoned.
Yet after hearing conflicting medical testimony, the jury judged her guilty of premeditated murder and gave her a life sentence.
In 2010, Lhermitte filed a civil complaint against a former psychiatrist seeking up to $3.18 million, claiming that his "inaction" had failed to stop the killings. Nevertheless, after ten years without result, she decided to drop the case.
Belgian media said Lhermitte died at the Montigny-le-Tilleul Leonard de Vinci hospital. She reportedly made an attempt on her own life in 2021.
The number of euthanasia deaths in Belgium last year was 2,966, up 10 percent from 2021, according to the authorities.
Although cancer is still the most common cause, officials noted that in nearly three out of every four requests, the patient had "several types of suffering, both physical and psychological."