A German couple is accused of killing their children and setting fire to their house. The father told the court that the family had been experiencing serious financial problems and were due to be evicted.
A 46-year-old woman and 59-year-old man went on trial in the German city of Darmstadt on Friday on murder and arson charges.
The two parents are accused of killing their 10- and 13-year-old children in their house in the town of Mörlenbach last August, shortly before they were due to be evicted.
According to public prosecutor Klaus Tietze-Kattge, the father is believed to have killed the children while they were sleeping, stabbing them multiple times before hitting them with a hammer.
He then allegedly poured gasoline over their beds and set the room on fire.
The husband and wife then attempted to commit suicide while sitting in their running car in the garage. Firefighters who arrived on the scene found the couple in the garage and were able to save them.
A court expert who spoke to both parents separately said that the 46-year-old woman does not remember the events of the night of the crime.
The 59-year-old man, however, told the expert that he and his wife had decided to take their lives the night before the eviction, but that he worried what would happen to the children — and decided to kill them as well.
Speaking to the court on Friday, the man said that the family was experiencing serious financial problems including bankruptcy. The house was foreclosed and sold at auction.
When it came to describing the night his children were killed, the man did not want to comment.
rs/aw (dpa, AFP)