Couple found guilty of murdering French nanny in trial 'stranger than fiction'

Credit Metropolitan Police

A couple who killed their French nanny over a freaky obsession with an ex-Boyzone pop star were branded "monsters" as they were convicted of murder.

The judge is expected to sentence the pair on June 26.

As a motive for murder, it is freakish beyond belief.

They also filmed a "confession" with an emaciated Lionnet hours before her death.

They insisted their young au pair had helped him come to the couple's home in the London suburb of Southfields to drug and sexually abuse the occupants.

She also accused him of sexually abusing a cat, using black magic and hiring a helicopter to spy on her.

During the trial, it was revealed that it was Kouider who concocted these delusions about Sophie and eventually her partner became hooked on the accusations as well.

He was shocked to find Miss Lionnet unconscious in the bath and tried to revive her, he claimed.

"She was a pearl".

"I've been living this nightmare ever since", she added, explaining that the victim's brother was suffering from "mental trauma", and had been placed with a foster family.

"Her body language showed there was something wrong", the owner of a local restaurant where Lionnet occasionally ate alone told the BBC.

"She was always very quiet".

"Why are you burning a body?" the disturbed firefighter asked the homeowner, Ouissem Medouni, Hunt would later testify.

He said: "Sophie was so nurturing, she liked children and animals".

In reality, the abuse had been going on for some time. They each blamed the other for Lionnet's death.

It was only after it was too late that the alarm would be raised, albeit inadvertently, by neighbours who called 999 over a foul-smelling fire in the garden.

Sophie Lionnet's mum Catherine Devallonne and dad Patrick Lionnet. Credit PA
Sophie Lionnet's mum Catherine Devallonne and dad Patrick Lionnet. Credit PA

He told the jury that when he turned to Medouni, the defendant told him it was the carcass of a sheep.

The testimony presented at the trial showed the couple submitted the young au pair to starvation and brutal torture until she admitted her part in the fantasy that had twisted both Medouni's and Kouider's minds - a convoluted paranoia about Kouider's ex-boyfriend, a famous Irish pop star.

The jury decided what really mattered is that together they were a truly toxic combination.

Faced with such torment, why did the 21-year-old not abandon the couple's home on Wimbledon Park Road? They starved, tortured and broke her until she could no longer fight.

Kouider and Medouni dunked her head into water, starved her, hit with an electrical cable and beat her so badly she had five broken ribs and a cracked breast bone. "They left her hungry".

Investigators also never found the au pair's passport and a plane ticket her mother had bought her to return to France and believe the couple may have confiscated them.

Mr Walton, who lives in Los Angeles in the United States, told jurors during his evidence that he had been "in love" with Kouider but she would "flip" and go "crazy" for no reason.

She was accused of making up "dreadful stories about people, often of a sexual nature" and picking on those she saw as "weak".

The court heard how Kouider was fixated with her ex-boyfriend Mr Walton.

While they would never have believed Kouider was capable of murder, some within the community had experienced how volatile the fashion designer could be.

"She was obsessed with this guy", Patel said.

Mr Patel said that when he asked what had happened, she explained that he was "a very risky person" who had hurt her family. "She said the nanny was complicit".

Ms Devallonne said her beloved daughter liked the "simple things in life" and enjoyed playing the guitar, reading and ice skating.

She and her on-off husband Medouni interrogated Miss Lionnet for hours to get to "the truth".

"I hope they pay a very high price".

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