London couple convicted of murdering nanny, burning her body


LONDON (AP) — A London couple delusionally obsessed with a former boy-band star were found guilty today of murdering their French nanny and burning her body on a bonfire in their backyard.

A jury at the Central Criminal Court convicted 35-year-old Sabrina Kouider and 40-year-old Ouissem Medouni after six days of deliberation.

The French couple, who had a turbulent on-off relationship, denied killing Sophie Lionnet, though they admitted disposing of the body. Each defendant blamed the other for the death of the 21-year-old Frenchwoman.

Prosecutors say the pair killed Lionnet after becoming obsessed with the belief she was in league with Kouider's ex-boyfriend Mark Walton, a founding member of Irish boy band Boyzone.

Kouider was said to be fixated on Walton and believed Lionnet was having an affair with him and helping him carry out a sex-abuse plot – though in fact the two had never met. Kouider and Medouni, a banker, repeatedly beat and interrogated Lionnet in an attempt to make her confess.

Prosecutors said the couple starved the nanny, beat her with an electrical cable and tortured her by dunking her head under water. After killing her in a bathtub in September, they threw her body on a bonfire in their yard in an affluent area of southwest London near the home of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

When neighbors called firefighters because of the pungent-smelling smoke, Medouni claimed the charred remains belonged to a sheep.

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