Guilty ver­dict

Judge finds Win­nipeg woman guilty of hid­ing dead in­fants in locker

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA/WORLD -

A judge has found a woman guilty of dis­pos­ing of the re­mains of six in­fants in a stor­age locker.

An­drea Gies­brecht was con­victed on six counts of con­ceal­ing the body of a dead child. Each count car­ries a max­i­mum two years in jail.

The de­ci­sion by pro­vin­cial court Judge Mur­ray Thomp­son on Mon­day was live-streamed from the Win­nipeg court­house by me­dia out­lets.

“All of her ac­tions lead to one con­clu­sion: that Gies­brecht was aware that these chil­dren were likely to have been born alive and she wished to con­ceal the fact of their birth,” Thomp­son said.

“The ev­i­dence leaves no doubt that she con­cealed her preg­nan­cies and the re­sult­ing de­liv­ery of each of the six chil­dren.”

Gies­brecht was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2014 after po­lice found the re­mains in garbage bags and other con­tain­ers in­side a U-Haul stor­age locker.

Med­i­cal ex­perts tes­ti­fied at her trial that DNA linked the in­fants to Gies­brecht and her hus­band. They said the ba­bies were at or near full term and were prob­a­bly born alive, but were so badly de­com­posed it was im­pos­si­ble to say for sure. They also couldn’t de­ter­mine how the ba­bies died. One child was put in a pail un­der con­crete, while another was cov­ered in a white pow­der that slowed de­com­po­si­tion but dried out the body and left it rock hard.

A third in­fant was lit­tle more than a pile of bones wrapped in a towel.

Crown at­tor­ney Deb­bie Buors said in her clos­ing ar­gu­ments that ce­ment and de­ter­gent were used in some of the con­tain­ers “to mask the smell of these re­mains so that em­ploy­ees of U-Haul wouldn’t be­come sus­pi­cious.”

She said tow­els, blan­kets and other house­hold items stored with the re­mains also showed that the in­fants were prob­a­bly born at Gies­brecht’s home be­fore they were taken to the stor­age locker.

The trial also heard that Gies­brecht, a mother of two, had 10 le­gal abor­tions be­tween 1994 and 2011, as well as a mis­car­riage. A friend told court that Gies­brecht hid her preg­nan­cies by wear­ing baggy clothes.

Her hus­band tes­ti­fied he was un­aware of the six preg­nan­cies con­nected to the charges. Jeremy Gies­brecht also said he thought his wife was hoard­ing fur­ni­ture in the stor­age locker.

De­fence lawyer Greg Brod­sky didn’t call any wit­nesses.

He ar­gued that his client kept the bod­ies in the stor­age locker to save them, not dis­pose of them.

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