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Leaving baby on beach to die, French woman returned like she had gone shopping

world Updated: Jun 21, 2016 22:21 IST
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This file photo taken on November 26, 2013 shows the beach in Berck-sur-Mer, northern France, where a child was found dead on November 20. (AFP file photo)

A French woman who left her baby to drown on a beach gave a chilling account of the murder on Tuesday, telling a court it was as perfunctory as “going shopping”.

Fabienne Kabou, 39, who has blamed witchcraft for her acts, detailed the final hours of her 15-month-old daughter’s life on the second day of a trial into the 2013 murder which shocked France.

She said she left her home in Paris and took a train to the northern resort town of Berck-sur-Mer where she asked passers-by about a hotel near the beach.

“I find it ridiculous that a criminal would speak to so many people before carrying out her act,” Kabou said impassively.

“When you premeditate a crime, you don’t want to be traced.”

She said she played with her daughter Adelaide, before breastfeeding her until she fell asleep after which she took her to the beach and laid her at the water’s edge.

“She didn’t move, she was silent,” Kabou said.

“I understood the water was covering my daughter, my boots were in the water. It was so dark the moon was like a spotlight.”

After leaving her daughter there, she ran away. Prawn fisherman found the toddler’s lifeless body the next morning.

The trial of Fabienne Kabou, mother of Adelaide and charged with murdering her 15 month-old child who found dead on the beach of Berck-sur-Mer on November 20, 2013. (AFP)


Kabou grew up in Senegal in a well-off Catholic family before moving to Paris to study philosophy and architecture where she fell in love with a sculptor 30 years her senior, Michel Lafon.

Described by her lawyer as highly intelligent, she told the court she had no other explanation for her acts but “witchcraft”.

Kabou said she carried out the murder “perfectly mechanically, as if a part of me was anaesthetised” and returned home the next day “with the attitude of someone who has just gone shopping”.

“I didn’t want to kill this child but it was at my hands that she died,” said Kabou.

Prosecutor Luc Fremiot interrogated her over the fact that she never registered Adelaide’s birth, and none of her family knew about the existence of the child.

Kabou has said Lafon never wanted the child and questioned whether he was even the father.

“If I never wanted Ada, I wouldn’t have carried her for nine months, I wouldn’t have raised her for 15 months, I wouldn’t have loved her,” Kabou said, sobbing.

On Monday, the accused said she had spent some 40,000 euros ($45,000) consulting various “witchdoctors and healers” before carrying out the murder, and that she had suffered hallucinations.

However, Jean-Christophe Boyer, a lawyer for a children’s group that is a civil party to the case, has accused Kabou of using witchcraft and her culture as a defence strategy.

A court psychiatrist, Paul Bensussan, said her act was possibly triggered by a deep depression related to having the child.