Wednesday 25 April 2018

French nanny told her mother she had been 'fooled and tricked' before she was allegedly murdered, court hears

Victim Sophie Lionnet. Photo: PA
Victim Sophie Lionnet. Photo: PA

Emily Pennink, Press Association Old Bailey Correspondent

A FRENCH nanny told her mother she had been "fooled and tricked" before she was allegedly murdered by her employers and thrown on a bonfire, a court has heard.

Sophie Lionnet's parents begged her to come home while she was allegedly starved, beaten and tortured by fashion designer Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni.

The Old Bailey has heard how the 21-year-old was effectively imprisoned at the couple's home as they interrogated her over false claims of collusion with Kouider's ex-boyfriend, former Boyzone band member Mark Walton.

Kouider, 35, and Medouni, 40, deny murder but admit perverting the course of justice by burning Miss Lionnet's body in their Wimbledon garden in September last year.

In a statement read to the court, Miss Lionnet's mother Catherine Devalonne said: "She was a nice girl, smiling but quite discreet. She would not talk a lot. She enjoyed the company of her boy and girl friends."

After finishing school, Miss Lionnet, from Troyes, northern France, completed "vocational training for infancy", she said.

A sketch by court artist Elizabeth Cook from 2017 of Ouissem Medouni (40, left) and his partner Sabrina Kouider (34). Photo: PA
A sketch by court artist Elizabeth Cook from 2017 of Ouissem Medouni (40, left) and his partner Sabrina Kouider (34). Photo: PA

On moving in with the defendants, at first she seemed "happy" and things were "fine".

But in the six months before her death she seemed "fed up" and wanted to go back to her family, Mrs Devalonne said.

The court heard how the mother asked Kouider to let her daughter come home, but was refused.

In text and Facebook messages read to the court, Mrs Devalonne told her daughter she loved her as she repeatedly pleaded for her return.

In June last year, Miss Lionnet wrote: "Yes Mum, you are right, I have been fooled, but not by people who are nothing to me, but by words.

"Indeed, it did not bring me more than a bit of experience, autonomy and a bit of authority.

"Still you are right, as I wrote yesterday to one of my former teachers, I should have listened to you and not to my heart. And I added that I was a stupid idiot."

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