A French woman is on trial accused of suffocating eight of her newborns, after she told investigators that she had feared they were children of a long, incestuous relationship with her father.

The worst infanticide case in modern French history stunned the country when the babies were discovered in the family garden in 2010.

Dominique Cottrez, 51, went on trial Thursday in the northern city of Douai, accused of multiple counts of first-degree murder of minors. She faces life in prison if found guilty.

Cottrez, who has two grown daughters, told investigators that over more than a decade, she carried eight babies to term and then killed them. Cottrez' obesity appeared to hide the pregnancies, which went unnoticed by her husband and children.