Story By: Kathryn Quinn, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A German mum who forced four of her children into wheelchairs claiming they were suffering serious illnesses in order to get benefits has been jailed for eight years.
Maike Borkowski, 49, from Lensahn in the district of Ostholstein, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany has now been sentenced after a three month trial in court in the nearby city of Lubeck to eight years in jail. She was remanded in custody following the sentencing as the court feared she was a danger of fleeing.
When given the sentence she showed no emotion, and failed to comment.
The court heard how Borkowski had forced four of her five children into a wheelchair forcing them to take unnecessary medicines and even demanded the local school spend 140,000 EUR (124,000 GBP) on a ramp and a special lift so they could get to classes.
Despite being diagnosed with Munchausen syndrome the court found her fully accountable for her actions. She was sentenced for child abuse as well as fraud.
Borkowski refused to answer questions in court and the court relied on witnesses to paint a picture of the children’s suffering.
The court heard that Borkowski had told the children for years they were suffering from chronic illnesses. The children were forced to spend hours in wheelchairs. Her son Jeremy had spent six-and-a-half years in a wheelchair from the age of four to eleven.
The mother faked medical documents claiming illnesses such as brittle bone disease, haemophilia, rheumatism, asthma and a variety of allergies to con health insurers, authorities, and doctors.
Her 18-year-old daughter who had been told she suffered from arthritis and brittle bones told the court she was so depressed about her diagnosis she considered killing herself.
Teachers also spoke about the fact that when her 18-year-old daughter Jennifer went to school, she was so desperate for her suffering to end that she scratched the word “Fuck” on her arm and told teachers: “I’m feeling sick, I don’t want to be here anymore.”
Teachers had then raised the alarm with social workers pointing out that 18-year-old Jennifer wanted to live with her older sister aged 27, and the welfare officials then found she was not as sick as her mother claimed. They were assisted by the fact that neighbours raised the alarm about the fact that her children seen in a wheelchair in the morning would be playing in the garden in the afternoon.
In total, the woman had five children, three sons aged 10, 15 and 17 and two daughters aged 18 and 27. The court case pertains only to the four children who were in her care and underage between 2010 and 2016.
She managed to obtain benefits of 140,000 EUR (124,000 GBP) that she was not entitled to after faking the illnesses of her children, the court heard.
It was also alleged that the medicine that she was given to treat the illnesses that the children did not have meant that her house was full of prescription drugs worth more than 1 million EUR (885,000 GBP).
The doctor who testified as an expert witness said blood treatment medicine worth upwards of 100,000 (88,000 GBP) had been delivered to her doctor’s address which was meant for her children, and that a single injection for some of the health problems would cost up to 1,300 EUR (1,152).
He added: “And indeed she was giving her children weekly the injections herself.”
The defendant’s lawyer said they will appeal the sentence.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.