The Metropolitan Police have released the first photos from the garden where French nanny Sophie Lionnet was burned in a bonfire. Lionnet, from Troyes, had taken a job looking after the children of Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, in London but the pair soon began a campaign of abuse that culminated in her tragic death. The nanny was apparently subject to months of mistreatment, threats and physical abuse that left her broken and a virtual prisoner in their home before her final 12 days were spent being tortured and interrogated as the couple looked for evidence of false crimes they had generated. Kouider and Medouni were also French nationals, and had filmed some of their interrogation sessions with a view to passing them to the police once the woman admitted the fabricated transgressions.
The couple had tried to cover up her murder by attempting to destroy her body using caustic acid, and even roasted her on a bonfire covered in chicken to mask the smell. 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." Sophie was the victim of a crazed couple who were obsessed with the idea that she was plotting with Kouider's ex-partner, founding member of Boyzone Mark Walton.
She accused Sophie of being in league with Mr Walton, who is now a music producer and lives in Los Angeles. She had fantasized a plot in which the pair of them were trying to frame Kouider and Medouni for crimes against their children to remove them from their custody and grant the singer full rights over them. Detective Inspector Domenica Catino, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, (HMCC), condemned their actions and spoke about how she hoped the verdict would bring some closure and peace to Sophie's family:
"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. This has been an extremely harrowing and tragic case. 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. 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.’