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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Woman tried for eight baby deaths
Sabine H
Sabine H faces eight counts of manslaughter
A woman charged with killing eight of her newborn babies has gone on trial in a case that has shocked Germany.

The bodies were found buried in a fish tank and in flower pots and buckets in her parents' garden in a village near the Polish border.

The woman, a jobless dental assistant known as Sabine H, 40, faces eight counts of manslaughter. She could be jailed for up to 15 years if convicted.

A ninth baby also died, but too long ago to allow prosecution.

It is thought the babies were born and died between 1988 and 1998.

'Drunk in labour'

At Thursday's hearing, the woman's lawyer said she would not give evidence at the trial.

She previously told investigators she did not harm the babies, but let them die after giving birth alone.

She told them she could only remember properly two of the births because, in the other cases, she got drunk when she went into labour.

"We already had three children, and my husband didn't want any more children," she said, according to a transcript read out in court.

She added that "I always hoped my husband would notice the pregnancies of his own accord".

Her ex-husband, Oliver H, who is thought to have worked for the Stasi, the former East German secret police, is expected to give evidence later on Thursday.

DNA tests have shown that the couple were the parents of all nine dead newborns.

Together they have three living adult children, while the woman has a young daughter with another man.

The bodies were discovered after a neighbour found human bones while clearing up Sabine H's parents' garage in Brieskow-Finkenheerd, in Brandenburg state in the former Eastern Germany.

See the house at the centre of the investigation

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