A French nanny was murdered and burned after being accused of stealing a diamond necklace and dabbling in black magic, a court heard.
Sophie Lionnet’s charred remains were found in a garden in Southfields, Wimbledon, on September 20 last year after a neighbour reported foul smells coming from a garden fire.
Before her death, the 21-year-old had been starved, mistreated and assaulted after she went to live with Sabrina Kouider, a mother of two, and her partner Ouissem Medouni.
The couple, who are also French, allegedly confronted Miss Lionnet with “outlandish” allegations and kept her prisoner in their home in south-west London.
Richard Horwell QC, prosecuting, told jurors at the Old Bailey: “Sophie was trapped in a domestic nightmare.”
Ms Kouider, 35, a former partner of Mark Walton, a founder member of the pop band Boyzone, and Mr Medouni, 40, deny murdering Miss Lionnet.
The court heard Ms Kouider accused her nanny of being in cahoots with Mr Walton and said he controlled her through black magic. She even falsely labelled Mr Walton a paedophile in a fake Facebook account, the court heard.
Jurors were told the allegations against Miss Lionnet and Mr Walton were “quite untrue”.
It emerged Miss Lionnet confided in a local chip shop owner that she was being beaten by Ms Kouider.
She regularly visited the takeaway, often dressed in the same clothes, and ate chips at speed as if she was hungry.
Mr Horwell said: “At the centre of this trial is the fact that these inventions or beliefs, whatever they may have been, concerning Mark Walton, formed a central part of the reason why the defendants murdered Sophie.”
He told jurors Miss Lionnet had been “naive and vulnerable” and an “easy target” for Ms Kouider.
She was poorly paid, starved, beaten and interrogated by her employers while prevented from returning to her family, Mr Horwell said.
In notes she described being called a “whore, a b—- and a slut” whom Ms Kouider would scream at – she once accused her of stealing a diamond pendant. Mr Horwell said Mr Medouni was “beguiled” into the same delusions.
After her death, eight hours of “harrowing” recordings were recovered from the defendants’ mobile phones of Miss Lionnet being interrogated.
They depicted “a young emaciated, frightened and helpless woman anxious to say and do whatever her tormentors wanted”, the lawyer said.
Miss Lionnet was intimidated, threatened with imprisonment, rape and violence to exact some sort of “confession”, possibly to later embarrass Mr Walton, jurors were told.
He said: “The last days and hours of Sophie’s life must have been truly wretched.”
She had fractures to her sternum, ribs and jawbone, but the exact cause of death could not be established because of the attempt to burn her body.
“Their intention was to dispose of Sophie’s body, but their wicked plan was frustrated by a neighbour and inquisitive fire fighters,” Mr Horwell said.
The victim’s parents sat in court as the case was opened. The trial continues.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/19/french-nanny-beaten-starved-thrown-bonfire-court-hears/