Couple jailed for life for killing French au pair

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A  couple have been jailed for at least 30 years for torturing and burning their French au pair to death.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, killed 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet over a false belief she was in league with music mogul Mark Walton.

Afterwards, they threw her body on a bonfire in the garden of their Wimbledon home in September last year.

Following an Old Bailey trial, the defendants were found guilty of murder, having admitted perverting the course of justice.

Jailing the pair for life, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: "It is plain from all the evidence that Sophie was a kind, gentle and good natured girl."

He said the allegations she was plotting with Mr Walton to abuse the family were a "complete fiction".

There was no excuse of the "horrible cruelty" and "humiliation" the defendants exacted on Miss Lionnet during taped interrogations before her death, the judge said.

He said: "I'm sure on all the evidence you were both involved in torturing Sophie in the bath in the lead up to her death in making her think she would drown unless you gave her information you wanted which was not in her power to give because it did not exist.

"The suffering and the torture you put her through before her death was prolonged and without pity."

He said their behaviour had its "origins in cruelty and a desire for revenge".

He told Kouider she was motivated by an unjustified desire to make Miss Lionnet and Mr Walton "suffer", despite suffering from a mental disorder.

He told her: "I do not think you thought for one moment you were acting lawfully. I'm sure you knew the way you interrogated her was unacceptable in the extreme, that it was unlawful to assault her and she was in a dreadful state by the time of her death and torturing her in the bath was totally and utterly wrong."