Smiling with her family… before she would slit the throat of all five children, then be euthanised at her own request exactly 16 years later: Tragic story of killer mother – as heartbroken husband reveals he still struggles to cope
- Genevieve Lhermitte, 56, murdered her children by slitting their throats in 2007
- Lhermitte died on Tuesday after being euthanised by doctors at her own request
To the world, she looked like a doting mother smiling as she put her arms around her five young children as they opened presents.
But, months after this family photograph was taken, Genevieve Lhermitte went on to slit the throats of her children, aged three to 14, with a kitchen knife at their home in Nivelles, Belgium, in a case that shocked the country.
And exactly 16 years after Lhermitte, 56, slaughtered her children – three-year-old Mehdi, Mina, seven, Myriam, ten, Nora, 12, Yasmine, 14 – on 28 February 2007, she was euthanised at her own request on Tuesday.
Her ex-husband Bouchaib Moqadem, who was visiting his parents in Morocco when Lhermitte launched her attack, revealed he still struggles to cope following his children’s ‘massacre’.
‘I keep my feelings to myself, I can’t share them. It’s a massacre 16 years ago, I have nothing more to say,’ the grieving father told SudInfo, adding that the murders of his children remains a ‘difficult ordeal’ for him to deal with.
To the world, she looked like a doting mother smiling as she put her arms around her five young children as they opened presents. But, months after this family photograph was taken, Genevieve Lhermitte (right with her five children and then husband Bouchaib Moqadem) went on to slit the throats of her children
On 28 February 2007, Lhermitte (pictured during her trial in 2008) stole two knives from a supermarket before cooking what would be a final meal for her five children. She locked the door and began slitting each child’s throat
Mr Moqadem was pictured in tears at the funeral for his five children at a mosque in Brussels in March 2007
A heartbreaking image emerged today of Lhermitte smiling with Moqadem and their five young children – months before she went on to murder them. The youngest, Mehdi, is seen sitting next to his mother as he smiles broadly at the camera.
On 28 February 2007, Lhermitte stole two knives from a supermarket before cooking what would be a final meal for her five children. She locked the door and began slitting each child’s throat.
Lhermitte, who was 40 at the time of the murders, told her trial in 2008 that her eldest daughter, Yasmine, 14, was too big for her to handle so she tricked her into putting a blindfold on for a ‘surprise’.
When when the teenager was unable to see, her mother hit her over the head with a heavy marble tabletop, knocking her out before also killing her with a knife.
Lhermitte then tried to end her own life by stabbing herself, but the attempt failed and she ended up calling the emergency services.
Police found her body spread-eagled in the hall. Lhermitte later told police she felt ‘desperate and trapped’ at having to be at home with the children while her husband was away, the court heard.
Lhermitte was sentenced to life in prison in 2008, before being moved to a psychiatric hospital in 2019.
Her lawyer Nicolas Cohen said his client had died through euthanasia on the sixteenth anniversary of the killings on Tuesday.
Belgian law allows for people to choose to be euthanised if they are deemed to be suffering from ‘unbearable’ psychological, and not just physical, suffering that cannot be healed.
Genevieve Lhermitte (pictured at her trial) killed all five of her children before attempting to take her own life in February 2007
Lhermitte carried out the killings while her husband Bouchaib Moqadem (pictured) was visiting his parents in Morocco
The person must be conscious of their decision and be able to express their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner.
Her funeral took place on Wednesday, according to Belgian news site Sudinfo, which revealed her death.
Her trial was told that Lhermitte’s role as wife and mother was disturbed by the presence in the family home of a middle-aged Belgium doctor, Michel Schaar who paid most of the family’s bills.
‘He lived with us he even went on our honeymoon and slept in our room. We had to wait until he fell asleep before we could make love,’ Lhermitte said in court. She began to resent Schaar for this and the fact that they depended financially on him.
It was revealed during her trial that Lhermitte laid the dead body of her 13-year-old daughter Nora in the bathroom used by Dr Schaar.
When Lhermitte was asked why she said this, she said: ‘I wanted to hurt him. Nora was his favourite.’
Lhermitte, previously described as a ‘perfect’ mother, and Moqadem have since divorced. She said: ‘I gave him 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.’
Lhermitte’s lawyers argued that their client, who had regularly seen a psychiatrist, was mentally disturbed and should not be sent to prison.
But the jury found her guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to life in jail after hearing conflicting medical expertise.
Children Yasmine, 14, Nora, 12, Myriam, 10, Mina, seven and Mehdi, three, were killed in the attack
Psychologist Emilie Maroit told the RTL-TVI channel that Lhermitte likely chose to die on February 28 in a ‘symbolic gesture in respect for her children’.
‘It may also have been for her to finish what she started because basically she wanted to end her life when she killed them,’ Maroit said.
In 2010 Lhermitte filed a civil lawsuit demanding up to three million euros ($3.18 million) from a former psychiatrist alleging his ‘inaction’ had failed to prevent the murders, but she ended up abandoning the legal battle after ten years without success.
Belgian media reported Lhermitte died at the Léonard de Vinci hospital in Montigny-le-Tilleul. In 2021, she reportedly attempted to end her life herself.
Last year 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2021, according to the authorities.
Cancer remains the number one reason cited, but officials said for nearly three out of four requests the patient presented ‘several types of suffering, both physical and psychological’.
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