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A Belgian woman sentenced to life in prison after she was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of her five children 16 years ago reportedly died on Tuesday after she chose to be euthanized.
Genevieve Lhermitte, 56, slit her children’s throats on Feb. 28, 2007, at their home in Nivelles, Belgium.
Her children were aged 3, 7, 10, 12 and 14 at the time. Their father, Bouchaib Moqadem, was in Morocco visiting family when she murdered them.
Lhermitte tried to kill herself after the murders but failed and called emergency services for help.
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Genevieve Lhermitte, 56, decided to be euthanized in Belgium exactly 16 years after she murdered all five of her children who were between 3 and 14 years old. (Dirk Waem/AFP via Getty Images and this is for the woman – Olivier Papegnies-Bert Van Den B/via Getty Images)
Her lawyers argued during her trial that she was mentally ill. In 2019, she was moved into a psychiatric hospital.
Choosing to die by euthanasia is legal in Belgium if a person is competent and they have “unbearable” physical and psychological pain with no recourse, according to BBC News.
Nearly 3,000 people were euthanized in Belgium last year with terminal cancer being the most common reason.
Bouchaib Moqadem, the father of the murdered children, was visiting family in Morocco when Genevieve Lhermitte killed them. (Dirk Waem/AFP via Getty Images)
“It is this specific procedure that Mrs Lhermitte followed, with the various medical opinions having been collected,” her lawyer said of her decision.
Lhermitte died 16 years to the day after killing her children.
Psychologist Emilie Maroit told a local Belgian TV station choosing to die on Feb 28 was likely a “symbolic gesture in respect for her children.”
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“It may also have been for her to finish what she started, because basically she wanted to end her life when she killed them,” he said, according to BBC.