Tulle, France . A French court on Friday sentenced a mother who kept her baby hidden in the maggot-infested boot of her car to a five-year jail term, three years of which were suspended.
Rosa Maria Da Cruz, a Portuguese-born mother of four, kept her daughter Serena hidden away until she was nearly two, leaving her with serious mental disabilities.
In 2013, a mechanic discovered the baby in the filthy boot of Da Cruz's car when she took it to be repaired.
Hearing a noise, he opened the trunk to discover the baby in a car seat, naked, filthy and dehydrated. She was surrounded by maggots and excrement.
The infant had also been kept in an unused room at the family home in the Correze region of central France.
The case caused horror in France where Da Cruz's partner Domingos Sampaio Alves, an unemployed bricklayer, claimed he had no idea his partner had given birth to another child.
The child, who is now seven and in foster care, suffers from severe mental impairments, including irreversible autism, which medical experts have linked to sensory deprivation during her early months.
Da Cruz and Alves were allowed to keep their three other children, whom a paediatrician described as having been "perfectly raised".