Couple Appear In Court Accused Of 'Murdering Nanny And Burning Her Body'
A couple has appeared in court, accused of holding their nanny captive, before beating her to death and burning her body in their garden.
The charred remains of 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet were discovered at a house in Southfield, London on 20 September last year, the BBC reports.
The couple, who were her employers, have appeared in court today charged with her murder. Sabrina Kouider, 34, and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, are currently on trial at the Old Bailey, with the court hearing they allegedly killed 'naïve and vulnerable' Sophie after wrongly accusing her of stealing from them.
The jury were told the couple held her captive at their home in the days leading up to her death, before brutally beating her to death.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: "The last days and hours of Sophie's life must have been truly wretched. She was subjected, at times, to a brutal and oppressive inquisition and to significant violence."
Sophie died after suffering fractures to four ribs, her jaw and sternum.
The prosecution claims that in an attempt to cover up their crime, the pair set the body on fire in their garden.
Horwell told the court: "The plan was to dispose of Sophie's body and to explain her disappearance by inventing a story that she had left under something of a cloud and had returned to France.
"Another missing person, no longer their responsibility, her disappearance nothing to do with them."
However, a neighbour spotted the fire and called 999 after becoming concerned.
Her body was later found at the house.
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Horwell continued: "Sophie was not only young, but also naive and particularly vulnerable and this made her an easy target for abuse and exploitation.
"Sophie had a big heart but was not worldly wise and it was easy to take advantage of her."
He also told the court about the days leading up to her death, saying: "At times she appeared scared and hungry. She complained that she was being beaten and that she was not allowed to return to her home in France."
He said Kouider had accused Sophie of stealing a diamond necklace and of 'plotting against her'.
Horwell said: "Precisely what was in Sabrina Kouider's mind may be difficult to determine but it seems that the more outlandish the allegations the more she pursued them, despite the fact they were denied and despite the fact there was no evidence to support them.
"Her allegations appear to have been contagious because Medouni was beguiled by Kouider and her obsessions and delusions and he began to adopt them himself.
"Eventually they confronted Sophie and wanted her to confess to conduct and crimes she had not committed. Sophie became a prisoner in the Wimbledon home and she must have been terrified.
"The defendants mistreated and intimidated Sophie in a manner that is way beyond anything that could be considered normal or rational.
"Sophie must have found this unnatural and increasingly toxic situation wholly outside her experience and ability to manage.
"At times she made confessions to please her oppressors and then would withdraw them. And so the pressure increased and so did the violence against her."
Kouider and Medouni both deny murder.
The trial continues.
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