'NO GOD WILL FORGIVE' Mum of tortured nanny says killers should be ‘burned at the stake’

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, have been convicted of murdering 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet after her tortured and starved body was found on a bonfire

25 May 2018 - 08:41

THE devastated parents of French nanny Sophie Lionnet say her killers should be “burned at the stake”.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, starved and tortured the 21-year-old before torching her body in the garden.

As the pair were yesterday convicted of murder, Sophie’s mum Catherine Devallonne, 48, told The Sun: “I’d like the death penalty.

“I’d have them burned at the stake like Joan of Arc. Alive. That’s what they deserve. It’s maybe cruel but what they did was even more cruel.”

Sophie’s softly spoken dad Patrick Lionnet, 56, added: “These people do not deserve to live.”

A photo was yesterday released of their gaunt daughter — taken from a video her torturers made days before her death last September.

 Sophie’s mum Catherine Devallonne says the killers should be 'burned alive'
 
Sophie’s mum Catherine Devallonne says the killers should be 'burned alive'

The distressing image was in stark contrast to the happy woman who arrived in Britain 18 months earlier.

Mrs Devallonne said: “It was very difficult to see my daughter like that. I saw the video of her tortured by those two five times.

“She looked awful, gaunt, so thin. Not like the happy, smiling Sophie I will always remember.”

A two-month Old Bailey trial heard how Sophie was dragged into Kouider’s obsession with her ex Boyzone founder Mark Walton, 40.

Kouider wanted to destroy the LA-based mogul — falsely accusing him of being a paedophile who drugged and molested her family.

The fantasist also accused Sophie — who left France to work for Kouider after being introduced by a friend on Facebook — of sleeping with him.

Kouider also accused her of facilitating Mr Walton’s alleged abuse in return for the promise of roles in Hollywood films.

She then imprisoned and starved Sophie at her cramped flat in Southfields, South West London.

Sophie, from Troyes, North East France, penned heartbreaking notes, writing “I want to go home” and “I want to leave”. But, paid just £50 a month, she could not afford a ticket.

Kouider, who lived on disability benefits, refused to let her go until she confessed she was complicit in Walton’s supposed sexual abuse.

The court was shown clips of Sophie admitting to Kouider’s false claims during an eight-and-a-half hour inquisition.

Jurors were warned to brace themselves before viewing the “truly harrowing” footage.

 Sophie's mum said she 'loved life and was always smiling'
 
Sophie's mum said she 'loved life and was always smiling'
 The nanny left France to work for Kouider after the pair were introduced on Facebook
 
The nanny left France to work for Kouider after the pair were introduced on Facebook
 Sophie was dragged into Kouider’s obsession with her ex Mark Walton
 
Sophie was dragged into Kouider’s obsession with her ex Mark Walton
 The 21-year-old wrote heartbreaking notes stressing her desire to return home
 
The 21-year-old wrote heartbreaking notes stressing her desire to return home

Richard Horwell QC said: “Sophie by now was completely compliant, her will and spirit finally crushed following her arduous examination at the hands of both defendants.

“It shows on her face and in her demeanour and voice. She makes a truly dreadful sight.”

In the recording, Kouider could be heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” and branding Sophie a “monster”.

Sophie suffered fractures to her sternum, four ribs and jawbone in violent beatings from Kouider and jobless “banker” Medouni.

The video culminates in them waterboarding Sophie in the bath at their ground-floor flat.

It is unclear how Sophie died but her body is believed to have been in a suitcase for up to two days before it was cremated in the back garden.

Neighbours called police after notcing an “unusual” smell. Firefighters found a raging bonfire next to a BBQ where Medouni was cooking chicken.

They extinguished the blaze and found body parts, along with Sophie’s burned glasses.

In court, the defendants claimed the other was responsible for Sophie’s murder.

The case was said to bear the hallmarks of a “folie a deux”, or “madness of two” — with Kouider the driving force and weak Medouni a willing follower.

Ex-pop star Mr Walton flew in to give evidence against his ex — and told how he had never heard of Sophie until after her death.

Mr Walton, a judge on Pop Idol Vietnam who helped manage Irish girl group B*witched, told how Kouider would “go crazy” during their two-year relationship. He said she left him in 2012 after claiming she was pregnant.

He continued to finance her life until he cut ties in 2014 — setting in motion the tragic chain of events leading to Sophie’s murder.

Kouider, who was known to social services, spoke to police more than 30 times about Mr Walton before the murder.

But inquiries never turned on the failed fashion designer herself.

Sophie’s mum also berates herself for not helping her daughter.

She said: “Sophie was always discreet with me and every time I had her on the telephone, even when it was for a short moment, she reassured me that all was well.

 Ouissem Medouni was found guilty of killing Sophie
PA:Press Association
Ouissem Medouni was found guilty of killing Sophie
 Kouider sobbed in the dock as the verdict was read out
PA:Press Association
Kouider sobbed in the dock as the verdict was read out

“I think she hid all these things to protect me and the family so we didn’t worry about her.”

But she said Kouider lied to her as Sophie prepared to come home.

She recalled: “The last time I spoke to Sophie was August 8, 2017.

“Sophie was due to come home the day before but Sabrina called me and said there were several problems she wanted to sort out.

“She said Sophie had taken the children to a house and someone threatened the children.

“Now I tell myself I could have maybe asked for more of an explanation and really asked to get Sophie home.

“I wish Sophie could have given me a little sign.

“Even, simply, ‘Mum, it’s not going well’ or ‘Mum, something bad is happening.’ I would have done everything possible to come and get her.”

Jurors spent more than 29 hours deliberating before convicting the pair yesterday morning.

Kouider sobbed in the dock as the verdict was read out, attempting to interrupt before she was silenced by judge Nicholas Hilliard QC.

She and Medouni will be sentenced next month.

In a statement read out in court, the victim’s mum said: “Our Sophie will soon be laid to rest. No god will ever forgive you for what you have done.”

Mr Walton told The Sun he hoped the verdicts would provide “comfort” to Sophie’s family, but added: “I wouldn’t wish this experience on any parent ever.”

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