Life sentences for pair who tried to burn French nanny’s corpse


A couple who cooked the body of a French nanny on a barbecue after murdering her have been sentenced to life in prison.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, concocted a theory that their nanny, Sophie Lionnet, 21, had been hired as a spy by ex-Boyzone star Mark Walton who had had a relationship with Kouider.

Sabrina Kouider,
Ouissem Medouni

Kouider and Medouni subjected Sophie – who cared for their two boys aged eight and four – to months of mistreatment, threats and physical abuse that left her broken down and a virtual prisoner.

Kouider was obsessed with Mr Walton, the father of her youngest child.

She accused Sophie of being in league with Mr Walton to concoct a plot that would see Kouider and Medouni            framed for crimes against their children and win Walton custody of his son.

Kouider’s delusions escalated to the point where she thought that Sophie had obtained heroin and let Mr Walton into the family home in order to drug them and sexually abuse the children.

The ordeal culminated in a series of “interrogations” conducted by the duo over a 12-day period.

They tried to force Sophie to confess to various false crimes they had accused her of.

Kouider recorded and filmed some of these sessions – in which she played “hard cop” to Medouni’s “soft cop” – on her phone, which they planned to hand them over to police as “evidence” of the nanny’s guilt.

A still image of Sophie from a video on September 18 shows her with her eyes downcast, looking scared, pale and emaciated.

Two days later, on September 20, firefighters made the horrific discovery of her body on the patio in the back garden.

Medouni was trying to burn her corpse with caustic acid in a bid to eliminate any trace that Sophie had ever existed.

Firefighters were called by a neighbour who was concerned about the smoke.

They arrived to discover Medouni cooking food on a barbecue in an attempt to cover up the murder – he had even scattered bits of cooked chicken on top of Sophie’s charred body as part of the elaborate charade.

On being confronted and asked what he was doing, Medouni claimed he was “cooking a sheep” but firefighters immediately suspected it was in fact human remains.

It was impossible to tell the gender and age.

Medouni, a self-employed businessman and Kouider, a self-styled fashion designer/stylist who liked to boast of mixing with celebrities appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey on Tuesday and were told they face a minimum term of 30 years in prison.

Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, of the Met’s homicide and major crime command, said: “As the investigating officer in this case I am satisfied that the verdict has bought some justice for Sophie, but of course it will never bring her back.

“I cannot imagine what thoughts were going through Sophie’s 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.

“We will never know the full extent of the horrors Sophie had to endure as not all the ‘interrogations’ were recorded.

Even in death the torture, abuse and humiliation continued by placing her partially-clothed body into a suitcase with no regard for even a semblance of a burial, before taking the callous decision to burn her in an attempt to hide their murderous act.

“Again during the trial the abuse and humiliation of Sophie continued as Kouider portrayed herself as the victim and made wild accusations against Sophie and her mother.

It was clear that together the couple made the decision to torture Sophie and then in a cowardly fashion blamed each other for her death.”

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