Zat the end of the process of infanticide in a sect in Hanau in the 1980s, the accused had the “last word” before the verdict on Tuesday. The 61-year-old Claudia H. is accused of murdering her four-year-old son Jan. In the hearing of the district court in Hanau, she spoke of her love for her child, whose loss she has suffered since then. The accused did not comment directly on the allegation that she caused the death of her child.
The German is accused of forcing the child into a sack sewn from sheets for a nap in August 1988 and closing it over her head. She left the child, writing in panic, in the care of a woman in whose house Claudia H. lived with her husband and son at the time.
According to witnesses, the landlady, Sylvia D., who is now 75 years old, was the leader of a small religious community to which Claudia H. and her husband belonged. Sylvia D. ruled the group like a sect, her two sons testified as witnesses. According to a coroner, the child passed out in the sack and choked on his own vomit, while one of their sons said Sylvia D. was the only adult in the house.
The Federal Court of Justice overturned the verdict
According to the public prosecutor's office, Claudia H. was strongly influenced by Sylvia D., also with regard to the treatment of her son. The leader insulted and abused little Jan for months. So she preached that the child was a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler and possessed by dark forces. God will take the boy soon.
Sylvia D. was convicted of murder two years ago by the Hanau district court. However, he has Federal Court of Justice reversed this judgment and ordered a new hearing at the Frankfurt District Court. After the verdict on the leader, the mother of the killed child was arrested and charged in September 2020. She was in custody for a year and a half, from which she was released in March because the judges no longer saw any urgent suspicion. In their view, someone other than the defendant could have closed the sack over the child's head.
In her last word, Claudia H. said that the loss of her only child has accompanied her every day of her life since then. At that time she found stability in her faith in God and in her work. "I thought I had learned to live with it. But since my imprisonment, I've known that I've never really come to terms with this loss." When she read the file with the investigation results while in custody, she was appalled at "what I'm being accused of and what is being done with my life."
The "presumptuous accusation" that she was not a well-fortified woman hit her particularly hard. At that time she trusted Sylvia D., but was not emotionally dependent on her. Claudia H. said that she was not a "willless disciple who went through with everything". Today, the most important thing for her is that her son knew that she herself, as the mother, and his father had “loved the child more than anything”.
A separate meeting was scheduled for the statements of the accused. The judges plan to announce their verdict on Tuesday, October 4th.