ATHENS, (AFP) – A 34-year-old mother accused of killing her three daughters over three years went on trial yesterday in Athens, in a case that has sparked outrage in Greece.
Roula Pispirigou, who is being held in a high-security prison, faced trial yesterday for the “attempted premeditated homicide” and “premeditated homicide” of her eldest daughter.
She has denied all charges.
She stands accused of having poisoned nine-year-old Georgina in January 2022 by administering ketamine, an anaesthetic.
At the time of her death on January 29, Georgina was in a hospital where she had been for several stays since first suffering convulsions in April 2021 which left her a quadriplegic.
Pispirigou was arrested in March 2022 and has maintained her innocence since.
Following her arrest, authorities began investigating the deaths of her two other daughters – Malena, aged three when she died in 2019, and Iris, six months old when she died in 2021.
Forensic examinations carried out on her other two daughters following Georgina’s suspicious death revealed that both girls died of asphyxiation.
Although that investigation is ongoing, in August Pispirigou was charged with those deaths as well.
Pispirigou’s lawyer, Alexis Kougias, is expected to call for all the cases to be merged, and therefore an adjournment, during yesterday’s proceedings, a court source said.
Greek media have nicknamed Pispirigou, a nurse by training, as a “modern-day Medea”, a figure in Greek mythology who murders her sons after their father leaves her for another woman.
The alleged triple infanticide has received a great deal of attention in the media in Greece.
Last April, the Greek government had to call for calm in the face of calls for Pispirigou to be killed, urging the general populace to allow the investigators to do their job.
The accused woman, flanked by heavily equipped police officers, was protected by a bullet-proof vest when she first arrived at the Athens courthouse shortly after her arrest. Riot police were deployed as the crowd shouted “Murderess confess your crimes”, some calling for her to be hanged.
Television stations “focus above all on the emotions of viewers”, explained a lecturer in criminology at the Athens Panteion University Effi Lambropoulou.
“This information is then exaggerated on social networks where there is no control whatsoever,” she added.
“We are particularly hard on mothers who commit infanticide because we still have representations and ideals about motherhood,” psychologist and psychoanalyst Sophie Marinopoulos told AFP.