Friday 21 September 2018

Couple to be sentenced for murder of nanny over bizarre obsession with Boyzone founder

Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny Sophie Lionnet. PA Wire / Met handout
Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny Sophie Lionnet. PA Wire / Met handout

Emily Pennink

A couple are facing life behind bars for torturing their French nanny to death over a bizarre obsession.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, were found guilty of murdering 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet following an Old Bailey trial.

They had admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of her body in a bonfire at their home near Wimbledon in September last year.

The trial had heard how Kouider had been consumed by the false idea that Miss Lionnet was in league with her former boyfriend Mark Walton, who founded Boyzone.

Over more than eight hours of recorded interrogations, Miss Lionnet was slapped, likened to a Nazi collaborator and called "worse than a murderer" by the couple.

In her final days, Miss Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five fractured ribs and a cracked breast bone.

Sophie Lionnet death court case
Sophie Lionnet death court case

She appeared broken and emaciated in a videoed confession hours before she was tortured and killed in the bath.

When firefighters investigated pungent-smelling smoke coming from a bonfire, Medouni tried to pass off her charred remains as a sheep.

And Kouider claimed to police that Miss Lionnet had run off with LA-based Mr Walton in an attempt to frame him for her disappearance.

The defendants later admitted disposing of Miss Lionnet's body but denied her murder, blaming each other for her death.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC had told jurors that neither were prepared to admit the truth - that they killed her out of "revenge and punishment".

Banker Medouni hung his head and fashion designer Kouider wept as they were found guilty of murder last month.

Miss Lionnet's tearful mother, Catherine Devallonne, said: "These self-obsessed individuals who murdered Sophie did not believe Sophie had a value.

"Those monsters repeatedly beat Sophie. They starved, tortured and broke her until she could no longer fight.

Sophie Lionnet’s mother Catherine Devallonne and father Patrick Lionnet outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Sophie Lionnet’s mother Catherine Devallonne and father Patrick Lionnet outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

"They took away her dignity and finally her life painfully ebbed away until Sophie struggled to take her final terrified breath in the bath.

"Our Sophie will soon be laid to rest. No god will ever forgive you both for what you have done to our daughter."

The victim's father, Patrick Lionnet, said what the couple did to his shy and reserved daughter was "beyond comprehension" and "unforgivable".

Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC will sentence the defendants today.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News