Couple jailed for life after torturing nanny to death
A couple who tortured their French nanny before killing her and throwing her body on a bonfire have been sentenced to life in prison.
Sabrina Kouider (35) and her partner Ouissem Medouni (40) were found guilty last month of murdering 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet at their home in Wimbledon, London, last September. The trial heard they had a deluded belief she was in league with Mark Walton, the ex-Boyzone band member turned music mogul, with whom Kouider once had a relationship.
Judge Nicholas Hilliard said there was no excuse for the "horrible cruelty" and "humiliation" they inflicted on Lionnet before her death.
The trial, which was described as stranger than fiction, heard how Kouider was fixated with Walton and believed Lionnet was colluding with him to drug and molest the family. Kouider even tried to implicate Walton in Lionnet's disappearance. The judge said the allegations were a "complete fiction" and motivated by a desire for revenge.
Addressing the couple in the dock, he said: "The suffering and the torture you put her through before her death was prolonged and without pity.
"It is plain from all the evidence that Sophie was a kind, gentle and good-natured girl," he added.
In a letter, read to the court, Kouider said she was "deeply sorry".
In her final days, Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five fractured ribs and a cracked breast bone. She appeared emaciated in a filmed confession hours before she was killed. When firefighters investigated pungent-smelling smoke coming from a bonfire in the couple's garden, Medouni tried to pass off her charred remains as those of a sheep.
The defendants later admitted disposing of Lionnet's body but denied her murder, blaming each other for her death.