The German mother suspected of killing five of her own children had prevented her husband from trying to take his own life in April, it has emerged.
The man’s suicide attempt was stopped by 27-year-old Christiane K, who tried to end her own life jumping on railway tracks on Thursday after allegedly poisoning her five children.
According to Bild, the man was the father of some of the younger children and his suicide attempt in late April drew the attention of police in the town of Solingen, but their offer of help was turned away.
A neighbour told RTL that police and social services had been to the apartment block before and that the father had repeatedly been ordered out of the flat.
Christiane K.’s sixth and eldest child, Marcel, 11, was unharmed and is now being looked after by his relatives (pictured: the mother kissing her eldest)
A female forensic investigator enters the apartment building where five children were found dead in Solingen on Thursday
Funeral workers carry a body to a hearse under the protection of uniformed police officers wearing masks outside the apartment building
Teddy bears and candles are left out in tribute to the five children who died in what the state’s interior minister called a ‘family tragedy’
Police are thought to have made contact with the father after the bodies of the five children were discovered on Thursday, while an elder 11-year-old child is being looked after by other relatives after allegedly witnessing his siblings’ deaths.
His mother took him on a train to Duesseldorf where she got out and jumped on the tracks, but survived with serious injuries while the boy, Marcel, travelled on to his grandmother’s house.
The five dead children were three girls aged one, two and three, and two boys aged six and eight.
According to Bild, Marcel’s younger brothers were called Luca and Timo, while the three young daughters were Sophie, Leonie and Melina.
Police have made contact with the children’s father, it is believed, after forensic officers scoured the apartment building on Thursday afternoon.
In 2014, the mother told her social media contacts that she had ‘lost the love of her life’ – before suffering a further personal crisis when her apartment burned down.
However, the motive for the alleged killings is not known and police said it was too early to speak about it.
One criminologist warned that possible warning signs might have gone unnoticed because of the pandemic and resulting lockdown.
A hand-print is seen in the window of the apartment building where forensic investigators continued working as darkness fell on Thursday
A policewoman stands in front of the apartment building in Solingen, Germany, on Thursday night
Police officers investigate the scene at the apartment complex in Solingen on Thursday evening
Police said they were alerted by the children’s grandmother in nearby Moenchengladbach, who had recently been in contact with the mother.
‘We were informed shortly before 2pm that five children had died and this has unfortunately been confirmed,’ police spokesman Stefan Weiand said.
‘At the moment we believe that the 27-year-old mother appears to be responsible,’ he added.
The mother was not at the apartment when they arrived at the scene, they said. She is now in hospital but not yet in a fit state to speak to police.
Asked about reports that medication was involved in the children’s deaths, Weiand said: ‘We are investigating in that direction.’
Emergency personnel outside the apartment block in Solingen where five children were found dead in Germany on Thursday
An investigator in forensic gear works on the balcony of the apartment building where a mother is suspected of having killed her five children
Rescuers themselves were said to be traumatised by what they found in the building, and also shocked by the state of the flat.
One report said that rescuers had tried to resuscitate the children but arrived too late to save their lives.
Detectives are now awaiting the results of toxicological tests on the children, who did not have any visible injuries.
After leaving the apartment, 11-year-old Marcel travelled with his mother to Duesseldorf and continued on alone to his grandmother in Moenchengladbach.
It is unclear whether he witnessed his mother’s suicide attempt.
The woman was rescued from between two track beds and taken to a local hospital for treatment, emergency services said.
German railway operator DB said there were temporary closures in Dusseldorf because an emergency doctor had been needed on the track.
The bodies were discovered at an apartment building in Solingen, 20 miles from Cologne in western Germany
Police officers stand behind lines of tape at the entrance of the apartment block in Solingen
A police officer lifts up a line of tape for an investigator in forensic gear to enter the building
Several police officers could be seen around the apartment building in the early evening, along with ambulances and police vehicles in a cordoned-off area.
Police said more than 40 officers were dispatched to the scene.
‘The family tragedy in Solingen fills me with great sadness and at the moment my thoughts and prayers are with the five small children whose lives were snatched from them so terribly early,’ said Herbert Reul, interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Tim Kurzbach, the mayor of Solingen, said: ‘I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news that five dead children have been found in our city.’
Solingen is a city of 160,000 people around 20 miles from Duesseldorf and Cologne.
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German police have found the bodies of five children in a building in the town of Solingen (pictured, emergency vehicles in front of the house)
The balcony of an apartment at the Solingen residential block, where emergency rescuers were said to be traumatised by what they found
A group of uniformed people stand by a police van outside the apartment block in Solingen