Wednesday 13 November 2019

Police on guard as killer's ex-wife starts convent life

Raf Casert in Brussels

A Belgian politician who said Michelle Martin, the woman who let two eight-year-old girls starve to death and helped her paedophile husband carry out horrific abuse 16 years ago, should be "taken down", last night said his comment should not be taken seriously.

The comment from councillor Jurgen Verstrepen is indicative of the uproar across the country over Martin's release.

Martin was the wife of Marc Dutroux, who horrified the nation with his crimes during the mid-1990s.

He was convicted of abducting, imprisoning and raping six girls between the summers of 1995 and 1996. He was also found guilty of murdering two of the six girls, who ranged in age from eight to 19 years old.

Political talk is now revolving on how to toughen conditions for early release in Belgium to avoid having a criminal like Martin walk free after serving 16 years of her 30-year sentence.

Meanwhile, Martin started her first day at the Clarisse convent in the village of Malonne yesterday. She will work for 20 hours a week to compensate for her living costs as she seeks "atonement for her crimes".

After an eventful arrival on Tuesday night, police remained on guard outside the convent.

As the car carried her through Malonne on Tuesday night, some stones were thrown and the vehicle was kicked.

Martin's lawyer, Thierry Moreau, said he hoped a time would come when Martin would be fully reintegrated into society.

The last two of Dutroux's kidnap victims were found alive in his basement a few days after his arrest.

Martin was convicted of conspiracy in the kidnappings and imprisonment leading to the deaths of the two starved girls, held in a secret dungeon specially built in a cellar. She said she had been too scared to go to the cellar to feed them while Dutroux was serving a four-month jail term for car theft.

Such were her crimes, that councillor Jurgen Verstrepen called in a Tweet on Tuesday night for her to be "taken down . . . candidates?"

Yesterday, he said the Tweet lacked a smiley face at the end, and "for some this is necessary to show irony".

Irish Independent

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