A woman from Winnipeg – the capital of the Canadian province of Manitoba – was found guilty of disposing bodies of six infants in a U-Haul storage locker to hide their birth. The bodies were discovered by the employees of the locker facility in October 2014.
The cause of the death of the infants could not be ascertained as their bodies were highly decomposed when they were discovered, local news channel CBC News reported.
Following a months-long trial during which Andrea Giesbrecht did not testify, a court in Manitoba charged her on Monday (6 February) with six counts of disposing the bodies. Her sentencing hearing date is yet to be finalised.
Giesbrecht now faces a maximum prison sentence of 12 years for the six counts. The judge has allowed her to remain free on bail until her sentence hearing, but she will be required to immediately surrender her passport, which has reportedly expired.
"All of these children were likely born alive. There is no evidence of complications in these pregnancies," provincial court Judge Murray Thompson said during the Monday ruling, noting that he was convinced the accused was the mother of all six infants — five males and one female.
"These bodies were not stored for purposes of preservation", but were stored with the intention of concealing their births as they decomposed in plastic bins and pails, Thompson said of Giesbrecht's actions.
The 42-year-old reportedly rented a locker at the Winnipeg U-Haul storage facility under her maiden name, Andrea Naworynski, and concealed the bodies there. All the bodies of the infants were found in plastic grocery bags, with one encased in concrete and another in a substance similar to laundry detergent. She was arrested immediately after the discovery was informed to the police.
Judge Thompson said that the disposal of the remains of the babies was "done in an effort to contain the smell of human decomposition and decay".
"All of her actions lead to one conclusion, that Giesbrecht was aware these children were likely to have been born alive and she wished to conceal the fact of their birth", CBC quoted the judge as saying during the ruling.
Meanwhile, Giesbrecht's defence lawyer, Greg Brodsky, said she was not happy with the conclusion made by the judge, but she was content a conclusion was reached in her case.
Giesbrecht pleaded not guilty to all six charges when her judge-only trial in the case began on 18 April, 2016.