French Nurse Sentenced for Six Euthanasia
Source: French Press Agency; January 31, 2003
Paris, France -- A French court on Friday sentenced a 33-year-old
former nurse to 10 years in prison for murdering six patients,
pointing to the kind of devastating thinking that can result from
legalizing assisted suicide.
Christine Malevre claimed she acted out of compassion when she
killed terminally ill patients admitted to the Francois-Quesnay
hospital in the Paris suburb Mantes-la-Jolie, where she worked
between February 1997 and May 1998.
Her attorney, Charles Libman, had urged the court to acquit Malevre,
saying during his closing arguments that other doctors and nurses
had committed euthanasia without being brought to trial.
But the families of several of the deceased denied that their
relatives ever asked to die, and pro-euthanasia organizations
have stepped back from offering support in the case.
Malevre, who had been accused of seven murders and faced a maximum
sentence of life in prison, was acquitted of one count of murder
by the court in Versailles, outside of Paris. She was barred from
ever working as a nurse.
Malevre was expected to be transferred to a Versailles women's
prison later Friday.
Psychiatrists who examined Malevre concluded that she had "a morbid
fascination with illness" and that, despite having some personality
disorders, she was aware of her acts.
In custody, Malevre allegedly admitted to helping around 30 patients
die, but later in a book entitled "Mes Aveux" (My Testimony),
she only spoke of three assisted suicides and one fatal "error."
Arrested in 1998, she was released pending her trial on condition
she no longer worked as a nurse and that she received psychological
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