Scuffles at Greek court over woman charged with killing girl

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A 33-year-old woman, center, with the hood of her coat up and wearing a protective vest, escorted by police, arrives to appear at the court, in Athens, Greece, Monday, April 4, 2022. Under heavy police guard, a 33-year-old woman accused of killing her hospitalized daughter was led to court in Athens for an arraignment Monday, as authorities investigate the deaths of her two other daughters. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – A Greek woman accused of killing her hospitalized 9-year-old daughter was ordered held in pre-trial prison custody late Monday, under enhanced protection measures to prevent her from being attacked by other inmates.

Earlier the 33-year-old suspect was led under heavy police guard to an Athens court for an arraignment, as screaming onlookers hurled insults and tried to assault her.

Authorities are also investigating the deaths of the suspect's two other daughters. She has denied any wrongdoing, and her lawyer said Monday that his client believes the death she has been charged with may be due to medical error. Hospital officials denied that.

The case has gripped public attention in Greece, with most media routinely referring to the suspect as a murderer — reviling her, among other things, for allegedly having displayed little emotion at the deaths of her children.

The woman was arrested last week after an anesthetic drug was found in tissue samples of her 9-year-old daughter who died in January following a lengthy stay in the hospital.

A panel of senior coroners is also leading a review into the deaths of the suspect’s two other daughters: a 3-year-old from liver failure in 2019 and a 6-month-old in 2021 from a suspected heart defect.

Police had to fend off aggressive onlookers Monday at a court complex in the Greek capital to lead the suspect into the a public prosecutor's office to present her defense.

Several in the crowd ‒ some of whom were awaiting trial for separate alleged offenses ‒ chanted "Death! Death!″ as they tried to break through the police cordon. Greece has long abolished capital punishment.

Authorities have not identified the woman, but her lawyers have named her as Roula Pispirigou from the southern port city of Patras.