A father-of-three who poisoned his children's bedtime milk told a court he had decided to kill himself and his kids because he was too broke to live.
Cruel Harald Kopitz, 57, spiked the childrens' drinks with a cocktail of drugs before taking an overdose of blood pressure pills, a Croatian court has heard.
His four-year-old son was found dead in bed while twins, a boy and a girl aged seven, were found in the living room.
Judge Iva Gradishki Lovrechek accused Kopitz of robbing the innocent children of their future before jailing him for 50 years.
Kopitz was actually sentenced to 27 years for each murder but under local law, the maximum jail term is half a century.
"You killed three humans at the very beginning of their lives. You robbed them of their future," Judge Lovrechek admonished.
"Being a mother myself it is just inexplicable to me that you killed them when you did not want to live anymore," she said.
"They put all of their trust in you."
Kopitz - an Austrian national - was said to have been depressed because he had lost his job, had no money and had been dumped by his girlfriend.
"Being short of money is no justification to murder three young human beings," the judge said.
The doomed youngsters had been on a joint custody visit to their father's apartment last September following his divorce from their mother.
Kopitz posted a farewell note on Facebook shortly before his failed suicide attempt.
"Farewell to you all, I’m leaving you. I just cannot do this anymore," he wrote.
Bafflingly he also left a farewell letter on a desk in his flat, right next to an expensive bottle of champagne.
Kopitz, formerly a financial adviser, had been declared sane and accountable for his actions by a psychiatric expert.
Croatian media quoted him as saying that he took his children’s lives as he "didn't want to die alone."
The verdict is not yet legally binding as the suspect’s defence lawyer Marko Ivica has filed an appeal.
"This is a painful and difficult subject. My client remains in detention until the verdict becomes final," he said.
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