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Boyzone founder’s ex-girlfriend ‘screamed abuse at sobbing nanny’

The charred remains of Sophie Lionnet, 21, were found in a garden in South West London

A man accused of murdering a French nanny before burning her body in his garden told firefighters her charred remains were a sheep he bought at Wimbledon market, a court has heard.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, allegedly tortured and killed Sophie Lionnet, 21, after Kouider convinced herself of a plot by her ex Mark Walton, a founder member of Boyzone.

The Old Bailey heard today that Medouni grilled chicken on his barbeque while the remains of the murdered French nanny was cremated on his bonfire.

Neighbours called the fire brigade after hearing ‘crackling sounds’ and an ‘unusual smell’ coming from the garden of the couple’s home in south London.

When firefighters arrived and tried to put out the bonfire, they found Ms Lionnet’s burnt body lying in the embers, the court heard.

Medouni insisted the charred remains was a lamb carcass, the court heard.

Sabrina Kouider worked from home as a fashion designer

Kouider is the ex-girlfriend of Boyzone founder Mark Walton (pictured)

Sabrina Kouider (left), the ex-girlfriend of Boyzone founder Mark Walton (right), allegedly screamed abuse at her sobbing nanny as she accused her of sleeping with the pop star

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: ‘The defendants could conceal what they were doing but, of course, could not conceal the smoke.

‘There was a bonfire and a separate barbecue on which there was some chicken, you may think to mask the smell of the cremation.

‘The firemen were concerned about the proximity of the bonfire to the property and said that they would extinguish the fire themselves.’

‘Medouni said that he would put it out, but the firemen insisted that it was their responsibility to do that.

‘The fire was put out by the firemen and then the burnt debris was turned over with a spade to ensure that the fire had been fully extinguished.

‘As the ash was turned by the spade the remains of Sophie started to appear. Medouni was asked what it was under the ashes of this fire and he said, ‘It is a sheep’ which he said he had bought from Wimbledon Market.’

The court also heard that the French nanny was dunked under water by her boss and her boyfriend to try and get her to confess to made up allegations on the day she died, a court heard.

A witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, heard Ms Lionnet screaming from the bathroom with ‘lots of splashing of water’ and it seeping under the door.

This was followed by the defendants saying ‘breathe,’ the court heard.

Medouni, 40, and his partner Kouider, 35, of Wimbledon, South West London, deny murder

Medouni, 40, and his partner Kouider, 35, of Wimbledon, South West London, deny murder

The pair had beaten and starved Ms Lionnet as they filmed her interrogations over eight-and-half hours in the months before, it was said.

A video of the last sighting of Ms Lionnet alive on Monday 18 September showing her sitting wet in front of a fireplace was played to jurors.

Kouider thought the au pair was conspiring with Mr Walton, a founder member of Boyzone, to sexually abuse and kill her family, it was claimed.

Kouider  was ‘fixated’ with Mr Walton after a brief relationship and accused him of being a paedophile who was controlling the ‘naive’ and ‘vulnerable’ nanny using ‘black magic,’ it was alleged.

Together with Ouissem ‘Sam’ Medouni, 40, the pair regularly beat and starved Miss Lionnet as they filmed her interrogation over eight and half hours, the Old Bailey in London heard.

Worn down by months of interrogations, she eventually confessed and was murdered for revenge and to stop her retracting her confession, it was said.

Two days later her body set on fire in the back garden of their rented £900,000 home in Wimbledon, South West London, last September. But a neighbour spotted the burning remains of Miss Lionnet and dialled 999, it was said. 

Richard Horwell QC, prosecuting, told jurors the pair had even made seven audio and one video recordings of Miss Lionnet on mobile phones the day she died.

He said: ‘The purpose of the interrogations was plainly to record Sophie making a confession. What the defendants would then have done with the confession is not clear. 

‘Go to the authorities? Embarrass Mark Walton? Put pressure on him to do what? All of these and more are possibilities. The recordings are not merely relevant to motive but of interest generally to life as it was inside the home.

‘They reveal much more about the defendants than they do about Sophie. The atmosphere was one very much of domination by the defendants and intimidation of poor Sophie. She was threatened with imprisonment, rape and violence.

‘Kouider often did not need or want the truth. She was only interested in what she wanted to hear and not what the truth might have been. It’s not the truth that these two defendants sought, but confirmation of her perverted suspicions and thoughts.’

A court artist's sketch of Ouissem Medouni (left) and Kouider (right) at the Old Bailey yesterday

A court artist’s sketch of Ouissem Medouni (left) and Kouider (right) at the Old Bailey yesterday

The court heard the pair were obsessed with getting Miss Lionnet to confess to letting Mr Walton and another person into their home to sexually abuse them. 

She accused Miss Lionnet of witnessing the abuse although the allegations ‘were wholly untrue’, jurors were told.

The harrowing recordings of the defendants interrogating her in French were played to the court as her parents listened.

Medouni angrily demanded she answer yes or no as she said: ‘You are one of them, you need to tell me, don’t f***ing life to me’ before the noise of loud banging can be heard as she screams at Miss Lionnet.

She then is heard to say ‘You and me, we are the same, there’s no difference’ and ‘we have to report it to the police’ as Miss Lionnet’s crying voice can be heard pleading her innocence.

At this point her mother Catherine Devallonne became upset and left the courtroom. 

Catherine Devallonn, the mother of Miss Lionnet

Patrick Lionnet, the mother of Miss Lionnet

Miss Lionnet’s parents Catherine Devallonn (left) and Patrick Lionnet (right), seen yesterday

A month later Kouider again interrogated Miss Lionnet angrily, telling her: ‘You need to tell me exactly what you did. You keep changing what you say. You have two minutes’.

Miss Lionnet pleads ‘I just want to go. I just want to see them (her family)’.

A recording later that day captured Kouider saying ‘I pray to God not to make me touch you because I don’t want to make my hands dirty’ as the sound of loud slapping can be heard while Miss Lionnet quietly replies.

And on the day Miss Lionnet died on September 18 Kouider said: I’m not upset with you, I’m more upset with him. You’re a b****. But I’m not upset with you.

‘Stand up Sophie and show me what he did when he came inside the house, because I know what he did.

‘You saw with your eyes what he did to me. Tell me and nothing will happen to you, you will be safe. They are not safe, they are going to pay for what they did to me.

‘Talk to me and I’ll will 100 per cent not let you go to prison. I swear on your mother because I care about you mother. Come on Sophie, if you leave this in your heart it will destroy your life.

‘Take it from your heart. How many times? He did it more times, we agree with that ok? Shame on you. You are sick in the head.’

The remains were discovered in a garden at a house in Wimbledon on September 20 last year

The remains were discovered in a garden at a house in Wimbledon on September 20 last year

Miss Lionnet eventually replied quietly: ‘He came in the house.’ 

Mr Horwell told the court: ‘The defendants develop a number of different obsession, one was for Sophie to identify a house she had never been to.

‘Another was that Mark Walton must have been with someone else when he came to the house and sexually abused everyone in it. They start with a proposition then through the process of attrition Sophie starts to agree.

‘Sophie made up her replies, struggled for answers unsure of what her interrogators wanted to hear and tried to please them. Medouni was obsessed as to whether Sophie had sex with Mark Walton or with anyone else.

‘And believing she had been sexually abused by Mark Walton, Medouni referred to him as a ‘demon’ that Sophie had brought into the house. 

‘These interviews were an exercise in control and fear. It is anything but voluntary. Sophie had been threatened and subjected to violence.

‘Sophie was now 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 for a truly dreadful sight. She must have become tired by the end. Within hours of these final recordings, Sophie’s life was taken from her.

‘A number of reasons for her murder come to mind. First the defendants had finished with her, her confession at last recorded on video. 

A court artist's sketch shows Medouni and Kouider appearing at the Old Bailey last September

A court artist’s sketch shows Medouni and Kouider appearing at the Old Bailey last September

‘Whatever they planned to do with the confession it would not assist their cause to have Sophie alive to withdraw it and explain the appalling circumstances in which it was made.

‘Secondly, revenge. If they believed that her confession was true, they may quite simply have wanted her dead as punishment and revenge.

‘Whatever their precise motive the process of inquisition had concluded and within hours Sophie was dead.’ 

The young victim, from Troyes, north-east France, had moved to the UK in 2016 to improve her English. Medouni and Kouider both deny murder. The trial continues.

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