Couple murdered French nanny over ‘bizarre Boyzone obssession’

Sophie Lionnet´s mother Catherine Devallonne and father Patrick Lionnet outside the Old Bailey

Ouissem Medouni and Sabrina Kouider.

Walton who was a judge on Vietnam's Pop Idol and used to manage the boy band Blue, dated Kouider from 2011 to 2013. The Ireland-born founder of the 1990s boy group Boyzone, Walton had gone on to major success in the music industry while working with artists like Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias.

But giving evidence, Walton, who is based in LA, told the court that he "never, ever" knew the victim. "She was my life then". They took away her dignity and finally her life. As he told the court, in time Walton saw Kouider's unhinged side.

The couple fitted cameras throughout the flat believing Walton was breaking into the house.

Kouider collapsed in tears and Medouni hung his head as the jury foreman returned guilty verdicts to murder for both.

Giving evidence, LA-based Mr Walton, who was one of the founding members of Boyzone before they found global fame, said he had been "in love" with Kouider but she would "flip" and go "crazy" for no reason.

After he stopped, she began a campaign of harassment, reporting him to police more than 30 times for allegedly sexually abusing a cat, using black magic and hiring a helicopter to spy on her.

Faced with such torment, why did the 21-year-old not abandon the couple's home on Wimbledon Park Road?

Ruth Bowskill, a chief prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, told the BBC that Lionnet had written to her family in France saying that she wanted to leave the home, but may have felt trapped, particularly as she was very shy and did not speak English fluently.

"I said 'why didn't your nanny say anything about it?', and she said the nanny was complicit".

Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny Sophie Lionnet. PA Wire  Met handout
Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny Sophie Lionnet. PA Wire Met handout

They tortured her by dunking her head under water into making an untrue "confession" which they filmed before killing her. Each defendant blamed the other for the death of the 21-year-old Frenchwoman.

She would sometimes also visit his fish and chip restaurant alone.

"We will never know the full extent of the horrors Sophie had to endure as not all the "interrogations" were recorded", said Domencia Catino, a Detective in the Homicide and Major Crimes department of London's Metropolitan Police Force. "I asked why, and she said she had dropped the butter".

Local restaurant owner Michael Cromer, who had been in talks with Kouider and Medouni to go into business together, said Miss Lionnet would join them when they went to meet him.

They insisted their young au pair had helped him come to the couple's home in the London suburb of Southfields to drug and sexually abuse the occupants. She was starved and at one point she was waterboarded in the couple's bath. According to the Telegraph, she was drowned, but her remains also showed she had fractures to her sternum, four broken ribs and a shattered jaw.

Miss Lionnet's parents travelled from France to see the disturbing evidence as it unfolded. Both, however, admitted to plotting to get rid of the remains in a bonfire in the garden. The couple were found guilty of murdering their French nanny and burning her body on a bonfire in their London backyard.

And Kouider claimed to police Miss Lionnet had run off with Mr Walton in an attempt to frame him for her disappearance.

Fashion designer Kouider is to undergo psychiatric assessment before sentencing, which is due to take place on June 26.

The victim's mother called the guilty pair "monsters" in a statement read to court.

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