Couple who killed French nanny should be 'burned at the stake' - victim's mother

The heartbroken parents of a French nanny who was tortured and murdered by the couple she worked for say her killers deserve the death penalty.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, beat, imprisoned and tortured Sophie Lionnet to death at their home before throwing her body on a bonfire.

After the pair were found guilty of murder on Thursday, Miss Lionnet's mother, Catherine Devallonne, said the couple should be "burned at the stake".

She told The Sun: "That's what they deserve. It's maybe cruel but what they did was even more cruel."

Miss Lionnet's father Patrick Lionnet added: "These people do not deserve to live."

The Old Bailey heard that Kouider and Medouni had killed 21-year-old Miss Lionnet over a bizarre obsession with an ex-Boyzone pop star.

They had built a warped fantasy around music mogul Mark Walton and accused the nanny of being in league with him.

Kouider was fixated with her ex-boyfriend Mr Walton, and Medouni bought into the fantasy in what has been described outside court as a "folie a deux".

Over five years, Kouider reported the wealthy musician to police more than 30 times and received a caution for branding him a paedophile on a fake Facebook profile.

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

The mother-of-two went on to claim Mr Walton had seduced Miss Lionnet with sex and promises of Hollywood stardom.

Sophie Lionnet's mother Catherine Devallonne and father Patrick Lionnet outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Sophie Lionnet's mother, Catherine Devallonne, and father, Patrick Lionnet, outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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

Jurors heard more than eight hours of recordings in which Miss Lionnet was slapped, likened to a Nazi collaborator and called "worse than a murderer".

Kouider, who claimed to know influential people including US president Donald Trump, threatened to have her locked up and even marched her to a police station.

In her final days, Miss Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five broken ribs and a cracked breast bone.

In a filmed "confession", the emaciated and broken young woman admitted she had drugged Medouni so Mr Walton could sexually assault him.

Within hours, she was dead, having been tortured with water in the bath.

Afterwards, the defendants tried to get away with murder by burning her body in the garden of their flat, near Wimbledon, south-west London.

Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny Sophie Lionnet. PA Wire / Met handout
Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering Sophie Lionnet (Metropolitan Police/PA)

When firefighters were alerted by neighbours to pungent-smelling smoke in September last year, Medouni tried to pass off the charred remains as a sheep.

The defendants later admitted disposing of Miss Lionnet's body but denied her murder, blaming each other for her death.

According to Kouider, Medouni killed her in the bath then demanded they have sex as she lay dead nearby.

Before the trial, Medouni claimed Miss Lionnet died by accident after he punched her during the interrogation.

He offered to admit manslaughter but later retracted his confession, saying he made it to protect his wife, who has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told jurors that neither were prepared to admit the truth - that they killed her out of "revenge and punishment".

Sophie Lionnet death court case
French nanny Sophie Lionnet was tortured and killed by her employers (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Following the verdict, Ms Devallonne said her daughter had reassured her that all was well during telephone conversations before her death.

She told The Sun that she now believed Miss Lionnet was hiding the truth in order to protect her family.

She would have done "everything possible" to get her daughter home if she had "given me a little sign", she added.

Jurors spent nearly 30 hours deliberating before convicting Kouider and Medouni. The pair are due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on June 26.

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