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‘Modern-day Medea’ in Greece Gets Life for Killing Her Daughter

Greek Woman Gets Life
35-year-old Roula Pispirigou was found guilty of murdering her daughter. Credit: AMNA

A Greek woman was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Athens on Friday after she was found guilty of the murder of her daughter in 2022.

35-year-old Roula Pispirigou from the western port city of Patras was found guilty of the death of her nine-year-old daughter, Georgina, who died in January 2022 following a lengthy hospital stay.

Both the jury and judges found her guilty as charged in the indictment. The court determined that Pispirigou committed both the offense of premeditated manslaughter and attempted premeditated manslaughter. Earlier, Prosecutor Eleftheria Spyridonakou argued that the evidence of Pispirigou’s guilt was overwhelming.

She was found guilty of murdering Georgina and of attempting to murder her when the child was hospitalized at Karamandaneio Hospital in Patra the previous year.

Her initial attempt failed, leaving the child paralyzed. Later, Pispirigou administered the anesthetic drug ketamine, resulting in the child’s death at the Children’s Hospital.

Toxicological and histological tests revealed the drug ketamine was not prescribed by any doctor.

Greek woman accused of the murder of her two other daughters

Georgina’s death had been preceded by those of her six-month-old sister, Iris, in 2021 and her 3.5-year-old sister Malena in 2019 and sparked investigations into the cause of death, which had baffled doctors, of all three children.

According to the indictment, Pispirigou also murdered her two other daughters. The trial for these deaths will begin in the next few months.

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 widespread media attention in Greece, where such crimes are relatively rare. When she appeared in court shortly after her arrest, she wore a bullet-proof vest and riot police were deployed to control a crowd shouting: “Murderess, confess your crime.”

One person told Greek television she thought Pispirigou should be hanged, and the front of her house in Patras was daubed with the words “Death to child killers”.

“People can’t forgive the fact that she allegedly killed not one but three children and at different times,” Effi Lambropoulou, lecturer in criminology at the Athens Panteion University told AFP recently.

The trial of the case, which shocked public opinion and caused intense media interest, lasted almost a year, with a total of 89 courtroom sessions, and included the examination of more than 60 witnesses.

Pispirigou had throughout this time maintained her innocence and claimed that the media unfairly portrayed her as “a monster.”

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