French couple convicted of murdering nanny in London and burning her body


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French couple convicted of murdering nanny in London and burning her body

Sabrina Kouider, 35, has been convicted in the death of 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet.A French couple were found guilty on Thursday of murdering their nanny and burning her body in their back garden in London after what police said was months of mistreatment, threats and physical abuse that left her a virtual prisoner.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, were described at the Old Bailey court as having spun a web of lies to justify the torture and murder last year of their nanny, Sophie Lionnet, 21, from Troyes in eastern France.

Her ordeal allegedly culminated in a series of "interrogations" conducted by the duo over a 12-day period in a bid to force her to confess to various false crimes they had accused her of.

"We will never know the full extent of the horrors Sophie had to endure," Detective Inspector Domenica Catino said after the verdict.

He added in a statement: "I cannot imagine what thoughts were going through Sophies mind whilst being held a prisoner in those 12 days leading up to her death but from the harrowing images obtained it showed a scared, broken and emaciated young girl who probably knew she was shortly facing death."

Lionnet had first got the job after meeting Kouiders brother in France, and initially things appeared to go well.

However as the months went on, it became apparent to those who knew her that Lionnet had been inveigled into a uniquely bizarre and oppressive household ruled by Kouiders violent mood swings, police said.

Other local nannies observed that Lionnet seemed to think it was normal that she was barely paid, and she dropped hints over time that she was both scared and hungry.

A fish and chip shop owner that the nanny had visited recalled how she had grabbed food as if starving and revealed in a fearful fashion how she was beaten.

Medouni was caught when firefighters were called to the couple's house after a neighbor became concerned about the excessive smoke coming from the bonfire at their house in Wandsworth, southwest London.

When confronted, Medouni claimed he was cooking sheep but the firefighters contacted police.

Medouni and Kouider, who had previously admitted perverting the course of justice by way of preventing a lawful burial of a body, will be sentenced on June 26. 

Reporting by Coran Elliott; editing by Stephen Addison

By: Reuters

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