Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 15:45 UK

Children killed 'over mafia fear'

The Nice apartment where the family lived.
The children's bodies were found in the family's Nice apartment

A mother has confessed to drowning her two children in a bathtub to "protect them from mafia threats," French prosecutors have said.

The woman, 39, phoned her husband and police and confessed to killing her three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter in their well-furnished home.

Police found the bodies in the family's Nice apartment, in the south of France.

The woman was due to have a psychiatric examination. She is reported to have attempted suicide after the drowning.

The family had been in the apartment for three months, Nice-Matin reported.

Prosecutor Olivier Caracotch said she confessed to drowning the toddlers to "protect them from threats by the mafia," AFP quoted him as saying.

The husband, also 39, was taken to a police station after there was an altercation between him and police officers at the apartment. He was later released.

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