Woman accused of hiding infants’ bodies concealed pregnancy
A woman accused of concealing the remains of six infants talked frequently about selfaborting and hid a pregnancy from her partner and family, a Winnipeg courtroom wass told Friday.
Andrea Giesbrecht, 42, is accused of hiding the remains in a U-Haul storage locker before they were discovered in October 2014. It remains unclear how long the remains had been there, but her trial has been told all six infants were those of her and her husband, Jeremy, and some were very decayed.
Danielle Devereaux, a former friend and co-worker of Giesbrecht, testified Friday that Giesbrecht was pregnant in 1997 and tried to hide the fact from everyone, including Jeremy, who was then her boyfriend.
“It was never obvious (that she was pregnant). She would cover it with her sweater and pants,” Devereaux testified Friday. “She talked about plans on how to abort the baby … punching herself in the stomach or using a coat hanger.”
Giesbrecht had a gambling problem and was trying to get her finances in order, but never said whether that was the reason for not wanting the baby, and in fact “never gave a reason why,” Devereaux said.
Giesbrecht ended up delivering the baby in hospital — he is now in his late teens — and her family found out once she was in labour, she said.
Earlier that year, Giesbrecht called into work sick and said she had a miscarriage while walking on a sidewalk, Devereaux added.
The trial, which started this week and will continue in August, has yet to address some key questions in the case. Neither the Crown nor the defence have yet established when the infants whose remains were found were born.
Medical experts testified earlier this week that the infants were at or near full term and were likely to have been born alive, but defence lawyer Greg Brodsky has challenged the latter assertion. He has said any possible conviction could hinge on that fact.
Officers found the infants’ bodies wrapped in garbage bags and placed in a duffel bag, a tote bag and plastic containers. One body was wrapped in a towel, as well as a garbage bag, and stored in a pail. One officer managed to pry open one container and saw “limbs that belonged to an infant.”
Court has also been told Giesbrecht had 10 legal abortions between 1994 and 2011.
Under cross-examination Friday, Devereaux was asked whether she really believed Giesbrecht would self-abort and if so, why did she not tell anyone to prevent Giesbrecht from hurting herself.
“She wanted to keep it confidential. I thought I was honouring that,” Devereaux replied.
It was never obvious (that she was pregnant). She would cover it with her sweater and pants. She talked about plans on how to abort the baby.