Other pictures show chicken on a barbecue – which was being cooked as they burned the nanny’s body in a bid to mask the smell. (Picture: MET Police)
These are the first pictures of the garden in which the body of French nanny Sophie Lionnet was burned in a bonfire.
Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, were today found guilty after a three-month trial of murdering Sophie Lionnet from Troyes, France, on or before September 20, 2017, at the house where they lived with their two children in London.
Images taken in the home of the couple, who were both French nationals like Sophie, show the 21-year-old’s charred glasses and her suitcase stuffed into a shed. Other pictures show chicken on a barbecue – which was being cooked as they burned the nanny’s body in a bid to mask the smell. Medouni and Kouider will be sentenced on June 26 for the brutal torture and murder.
A still image of Sophie from a video on September 18 shows her with her eyes downcast, looking scared, pale and emaciated. (Picture: MET Police)
Her charred glasses were found in the bonfire (Picture: MET Police)
Metropolitan Police said the pair subjected naive and trusting Sophie – who cared devotedly for their two boys aged eight and four – to months of mistreatment, threats and physical abuse that left her broken down and a virtual prisoner. Her ordeal culminated in a series of ‘interrogations’ conducted by the duo over a 12-day period, in a bid to force Sophie to confess to various false crimes they had accused her of.
Kouider recorded and filmed some of these sessions – in which she played ‘hard cop’ to Medouni’s ‘soft cop’ – on her phone, which they planned to hand them over to police as ‘evidence’ of the nanny’s guilt.
A still ima
ge of Sophie from a video on September 18 shows her with her eyes downcast, looking scared, pale and emaciated. Just two days later, firefighters made the horrific discovery of her body on the patio in the back garden. Medouni was trying to burn her corpse with caustic acid in a bid to eliminate any trace that Sophie had ever existed.
A police spokesman said: ‘They might have succeeded but for a vigilant neighbour who rung the fire service on the afternoon of 20 September after becoming concerned at the excessive amount of smoke. ‘Firefighters arrived to discover Medouni cooking food on a barbecue in an attempt to disguise his real purpose of rendering the body unrecognisable.
‘He had even scattered bits of cooked chicken on top of Sophie’s charred body as part of the elaborate charade. ‘On being confronted and asked what he was doing, Medouni claimed he was ‘cooking a sheep’ but firefighters immediately suspected it was in fact human remains. ‘It was impossible to tell the gender and age.’
The pair subjected naive and trusting Sophie – who cared devotedly over 18 months for their two boys aged eight and four – to months of mistreatment, threats and physical abuse that left her broken down and a virtual prisoner.
Sabrina Kouider was found guilty after a three-month trial of murdering Sophie Lionnet (Picture: MET Police)
Ouissem Medouni was trying to burn her corpse with caustic acid in a bid to eliminate any trace that Sophie had ever existed.
Sophie had first got the job after meeting Kouider’s brother in France, and initially things appeared to go well.
Medouni was arrested within half an hour and Kouider was handcuffed later that evening after she had returned with the children. Kouider’s immediate attempts to mislead police were captured by the body worn video of the first officer, as she pretended she couldn’t remember the surname of a nanny she had employed for 18 months.
She claimed that Sophie had fled a few days beforehand for fear of the couple reporting her to police over the allegations they had levelled against her. A post-mortem examination on Sophie’s body could not determine the cause of death and it was only weeks later, on October 3, that Sophie was able to be identified through DNA. Sophie had first got the job after meeting Kouider’s brother in France, and initially things appeared to go well.
However as the months went on, it became apparent to those who knew her that Sophie had been inveigled into a uniquely bizarre and oppressive household ruled by Kouider’s violent mood swings.
The court heard that Kouider was obsessed with the father of her youngest child, her ex-partner Mark Walton, a co-founder member of the Irish band Boyzone. She accused Sophie of being in league with Mr Walton, now a music producer living in Los Angeles, to concoct a plot that would see Kouider and Medouni framed for crimes against their children and win Walton custody of his son.
Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, (HMCC), said: ‘As the investigating officer in this case I am satisfied that the verdict has bought some justice for Sophie but of course it will never bring her back.
‘I cannot imagine what thoughts were going through Sophie’s mind whilst being held a prisoner in those 12 days leading up to her death but from the harrowing images obtained it showed a scared, broken and emaciated young girl who probably knew she was shortly facing death.
‘I believe that we are Sophie’s voice telling of the torment, abuse and torture she suffered and today she has finally been heard.
‘This has been an extremely harrowing and tragic case. ‘Both Ouissem Medouni and Sabrina Kouider have robbed Sophie Lionnet, who was only 21, of her promising life and took her from her family and friends, who will never again get to see a beloved daughter, sister and friend.
‘We will never know the full extent of the horrors Sophie had to endure as not all the ‘interrogations’ were recorded. ‘Even in death the torture, abuse and humiliation continued by placing her partially-clothed body into a suitcase with no regard for even a semblance of a burial, before taking the callous decision to burn her in an attempt to hide their murderous act.
‘By Kouider and Medouni burning Sophie’s body to such an extent, it deprived her family of seeing her to say their goodbyes. ‘No-one has the right to take that away from a mother or father, again it shows the cruel, evil nature of Kouider and Medouni – there were no boundaries for these two; no humanity, no compassion.’