On July 25, 1998, Christine Malevre, after attempting to kill herself, confessed to helping about 30 patients to die at François Quesnay Hospital in Mantes-la-Jolie on the outskirts of Paris.
Since then nurse Christine Malevre, 29, has become a symbol for the growing civil movement in France in favor of joining The Netherlands in legalizing euthanasia. However, the decision to press murder charges against her follows a psychiatric report which said the nurse had a “morbid fascination” with death and disease. Another report showed that patients were three times as likely to die when Christine Malevre was on duty.
“The judge has realized that we are dealing with a serial killer more than with a Madonna of Euthanasia,” Olivier Morice, a lawyer for five patients’ families told the newspaper Le Parisien. But, the Madonna of Euthanasia, who recanted her first confession and now admits to only four cases, has received 5,000 letters of support.
Christine Malevre initially admitted to helping 30 patients to die, though her lawyer said that at the time she was under the influence of neuroleptic drugs.
She was charged with manslaughter and released pending her trial, but later admitted to just four deaths, of which she said one was “accidental”.
On the basis of psychiatric reports, the charges against her were upgraded to murder.
The Madonna of Euthanasia
In the final report, 11 suspicious deaths were recorded, but in four of these there was insufficient evidence to press charges.
The deaths date back to January 1997. Her alleged victims, aged between 72 and 88, were all in the terminal phase of incurable lung diseases, and had apparently been put to death at their own request or that of relatives. None of the patients’ families has pressed charges. The sources said the nurse was questioned as the result of an inquiry by hospital officials surprised at the abnormal number of deaths in the Pneumology department of the hospital.
In the end, Christine Malevre was sentenced to 10 years in prison on January 30, 2003. Sentenced to 12 years in prison in appeal on October 15, 2003. She was released in 2007.
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