A couple who tortured their nanny to death before burning her body in their London back garden have been jailed for life. Sabrina Kouider, 35, and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, will serve at least 30 years for murdering Sophie Lionnet, 21, over a false belief she was spying on them for Kouider’s ex, former Boyzone member Mark Walton. They tortured and interrogated Sophie before throwing her body on a bonfire in the garden of their Wimbledon home in September last year.
Videos appeared showing a emaciated and weak Sophie in the couple’s home before she was killed in a bath tub. Kouider, who was called ‘vindictive and overbearing’ in court and ‘timid’ Medouni denied the murder and tried to blame each other before a jury jailed them for at least three decades each on Tuesday. Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said: ‘It is plain from all the evidence that Sophie was a kind, gentle and good natured girl.’ He said the allegations she was plotting with Mr Walton to abuse the family were a ‘complete fiction’.
There was no excuse of the ‘horrible cruelty’ and ‘humiliation’ the defendants exacted on Lionnet during taped interrogations before her death, the judge said. He continued: ‘I’m sure on all the evidence you were both involved in torturing Sophie in the bath in the lead up to her death in making her think she would drown unless you gave her information you wanted which was not in her power to give because it did not exist. ‘The suffering and the torture you put her through before her death was prolonged and without pity.’ He said their behaviour had its ‘origins in cruelty and a desire for revenge’.
When firefighters investigated the sharp smell from the bonfire, Medouni tried to pass Sophie’s remains off as a sheep. They then claimed Sophie had run off with the LA-based former boyband member. Sophie’s mum Catherine Devallonne said in a statement read out in court: ‘These monster repeatedly beat Sophie. They starved her, tortured and broke her until she could no longer fight. ‘We have now been tortured ourselves, forced to listen to Sophie’s last moments, her sobs and crying.’ She added: ‘No one, no god will ever forgive you both for what you have done to our daughter.’ Her father Patrick Lionnet added: ‘Sabrina and Ouissem have not only stolen the life of my daughter so brutally without remorse, they have also stolen mine, my sleep, my happiness, my peace of mind and my future.’