Six clues to catch the nanny killers
The couple thought a barbecue would hide the smell of burning human flesh – but they were wrong
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...
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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