Six clues to catch the nanny killers

The cou­ple thought a bar­be­cue would hide the smell of burn­ing hu­man flesh – but they were wrong

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Last Septem­ber, the charred h re­dremains re­mains L

of nanny So­phie Lion­net were found in a bon­fire in Wim­ble­don, south Lon­don. Her killers Sab­rina Kouider and Ouis­sem Me­douni blamed each other through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and trial, but this May were both found guilty of So­phie’s mur­der. They were sen­tenced to life, to serve a min­i­mum of 30 years. Here’s how they were caught...

Boy­band ob­ses­sion

Sab­rina Kouider, 35, was a stylist, make-up artist, fash­ion de­signer and song­writer. She moved to the UK from Paris in 2011, and had a re­la­tion­ship with mu­sic mogul and founder mem­ber of 1990s boy­band Boy­zone, Mark Wal­ton. The re­la­tion­ship ended, with Mark de­scrib­ing it as ‘prob­a­bly the most tur­bu­lent’ he’d ever had.

Af­ter the split, Kouider rekin­dled a ro­mance with Ouis­sem Me­douni, 40, but be­came ob­sessed with Mark. In fact, the cou­ple both did. Po­lice records show Kouider re­ported Mark over 30 times for bizarre rea­sons, such as sex­u­ally abus­ing her cat, even though she didn’t have one.

Now liv­ing in the US, Mark Wal­ton re­sponded to the lu­di­crous claims with ‘in­tegrity and hon­esty’.

The bar­be­cue

In Septem­ber 2017, the cou­ple wa­ter­boarded nanny So­phie – a tech­nique where a vic­tim’s head is held un­der­wa­ter so they feel as if they might drown, so she’d con­fess to be­ing in league with Mark Wal­ton. Trag­i­cally, So­phie died.

They put So­phie’s re­mains on a bon­fire in the gar­den and, to hide the smell of burn­ing hu­man flesh, lit a bar­be­cue and cooked chicken. Neigh­bours re­ported a foul smell and, when the fire ser­vice came, they saw hu­man re­mains in the bon­fire. Kouider claimed they were parts of a sheep.


Un­re­pen­tant, Sab­rina Kouider and Ouis­sem Me­douni went out shop­ping the same day that they bru­tally killed So­phie – and footage of them was caught on CCTV. When the case came to court, it was also re­vealed that the cou­ple had sex just me­tres from So­phie’s body as she lay dead on a nearby bed. Once they were caught and charged, Kouider and Me­douni ad­mit­ted burn­ing So­phie’s body, but both de­nied her mur­der.

The video

A heart­break­ing video, made by Kouider and Me­douni shortly be­fore So­phie was killed, showed the young woman look­ing ter­ri­fied and ema­ci­ated.

In the days be­fore her death, the nanny had been beaten so badly that five of her ribs were frac­tured and her jaw was bro­ken. For the last 12 days of her life, So­phie wasn’t al­lowed to leave the apart­ment that was sup­posed to be her home.

Foren­sic ev­i­dence

When the po­lice Foren­sic teams in­ves­ti­gated the scene of the crime, they un­cov­ered the charred re­mains of So­phie’s spec­ta­cles – a key piece of ev­i­dence.

So­phie’s suit­case was also dis­cov­ered hid­den in the cou­ple’s gar­den shed. At the trial, the court was told that it was Kouider who was the driv­ing force of the abuse of So­phie and that she had used her naive nanny as a soft tar­get in her twisted bid to tor­ment her in­no­cent ex-boyfriend Mark Wal­ton.

The bath­room

A pathol­o­gist was un­able to con­firm the cause of So­phie’s death be­cause her re­mains were so badly burned, but listed a blow to the head, stran­gu­la­tion or drown­ing as pos­si­bil­i­ties.

The pros­e­cu­tion al­leged that So­phie died in the bath, fol­low­ing hours of hor­rific wa­ter tor­ture at the hands of Kouider and Me­douni.

Is this where So­phie died?

Starved and scared, So­phie be­fore she died

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