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German mother given life sentence for murdering five of her children

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By Euronews  with AP, DPA
Tributes at the apartment building in Solingen where five children were found dead.
Tributes at the apartment building in Solingen where five children were found dead.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Martin Meissner

A 28-year-old mother in Germany has been jailed for life for murdering five of her six children at their home last year.

The regional court in Wuppertal found the woman guilty of the killings and established the particular gravity of her crimes.

Judge Jochen Kötter described the case -- which had shocked Germany -- as a "tragedy".

The bodies of Melina, Leonie, Sophie, Timo, and Luca -- all aged between one and eight years old -- were found covered and in their beds at an apartment in the western city of Solingen in September last year.

Prosecutors said their mother -- identified only as Christiane K. -- first sedated the children and then either drowned or suffocated them.

Investigators believed that she was angered after receiving a photo from her former partner with his new lover. The mother had written back to the ex-partner that he would never see his children again, German news agency DPA reported.

A sixth child, her eldest, had been sent to stay with his grandmother before the murders.

Christiane K. then tried to kill herself by jumping in front of a train at the Duesseldorf railway station and suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.

At the trial, she had claimed that that an unknown person had entered her flat, tied her up, and killed her children.

The verdict means the 28-year-old cannot be released from prison after 15 years, the amount of time often served by people given live sentences in Germany.