London

Sophie Lionnet: French au pair murderers lose appeal

Sophie Lionnet Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Sophie Lionnet moved to London from her home in north-east France in January 2016

A couple who tortured and killed their nanny before burning her body on a bonfire in their garden have lost an appeal against their sentences.

Sabrina Kouider, 36, and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 41, murdered 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet over a false belief she was having an affair with ex-Boyzone singer Mark Walton.

A challenge to their minimum terms was rejected at the Court of Appeal.

Medouni's appeal against his conviction was also also dismissed.

Kouider and Medouni were jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 30 years behind bars after being convicted of murder.

During the trial, it was heard Ms Lionnet was subjected to interrogations, slapped, likened to a Nazi collaborator and called "worse than a murderer" by the couple at their home in Wimbledon, south-west London.

Image caption Ouissem Medouni and Sabrina Kouider met in 2001 and had been in an on-off relationship

They confiscated her identity card and phone and stopped paying her, in a deliberate campaign to isolate her and force her to confess, the court heard.

In her final days, Miss Lionnet was hit with an electrical cable and beaten so badly she had five fractured ribs and a cracked breast bone.

She appeared broken and emaciated in a video confession hours before she was killed in the bath.

Orlando Pownall QC, representing former banker Medouni at the Court of Appeal, argued his conviction was "unsafe" because of a note sent to the trial judge by jurors during their deliberations which indicated they were unsure about his "intent".

He also argued his minimum term was too long, as did Kouider's barrister.

But their appeal bids were rejected by Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Mrs Justice McGowan and Sir John Royce.

The judge said reasons for the court's decision would be given at a later date.

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