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Woman on trial for 6 baby murders

COUTANCES, Mar 15 – A 38-year-old French woman went on trial Monday, accused of strangling or smothering to death her six newborn babies.

Celine Lesage – a petite brunette who has a teenage son – admitted before a judge in the Channel town of Coutances to killing the six infants between 1999 and 2007.

"I admit to the charges," Lesage said on the first day of her trial.

Asked whether the babies were alive when she murdered them, Lesage hesitated and said "I cannot answer" before finally adding: "Yes, your honour."

Lesage is accused of first degree murder and faces a life jail sentence if convicted, with no possibility of parole for 18 years.

She was arrested in October 2007 after her partner and father of one of the murdered babies discovered decomposing infant bodies stuffed in garbage bags in the basement of their apartment building.

The man, Luc Margueritte, called police after making the horrific discovery and is now a civil plaintiff in the case.

Investigators have described Lesage as a shy woman with no apparent mental problems who claimed she lived in fear of her ex-partner and father to five of the murdered babies, accusing him of being violent.

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But the investigation did not find that her ex-partner, 39-year-old plumber Pascal Catherine, had a "domineering attitude," according to court documents.

Catherine was charged in connection with the case in 2007 but he was cleared of any wrongdoing and is to testify at Lesage\’s trial. A verdict is due on March 18.

Last June, French woman Veronique Courjault was sentenced to eight years in jail after admitting to killing three of her own babies, burning one corpse and hiding the others in the family freezer.

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