Dead nanny ‘lived like a princess in my house’ murder accused tells court
Sabrina Kouider insists she was not keeping Sophie Lionnet prisoner in the Wimbledon flat she shared with co-accused Ouissem Medouni.
A fashion designer accused of killing her French nanny denied she was her slave, saying: “She was living like a princess in my house.”
Sabrina Kouider and her partner Ouissem Medouni allegedly tortured Sophie Lionnet then threw her body on a bonfire after keeping her a virtual prisoner in their Wimbledon flat.
The Old Bailey has heard they were obsessed the 21-year-old au pair was conspiring with Boyzone star Mark Walton – Kouider’s ex-boyfriend – to drug and molest the family.
Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC challenged Kouider’s insistence that Miss Lionnet could have gone home to Paris at any time up until her death in September last year.
The defendant, who owed £20,000 in rent arrears, claimed she paid the nanny £50 a week, even though Miss Lionnet did not have the money to pay for her fare.
In a recorded telephone call last August, Miss Lionnet’s mother Catherine Devallonne pleaded for her to return, saying: “I’m extremely disturbed because I have health issues. You have to come. Pick up your stuff and come back home.”
But Kouider blocked the move and told the mother she could not afford to pay for the ticket until she got paid the next week.
In a final call on August 8, Kouider allegedly said she wanted to “keep Sophie” until she had told her where she had been despite Mrs Devallonne begging her.
Mrs Devallonne recalled her daughter was crying on the phone and seem “a bit disoriented”, the court heard.
Mr Horwell said: “Do you know what is so tragic about this conversation? It is the very last conversation she had with her daughter.”
The defendant became agitated when she told jurors: “I did not imprison Sophie, okay?
“I was the prisoner, sitting in the house with Sophie walking around with Mark Walton.”
Mr Horwell asserted: “You were treating her like a slave.”
Kouider replied: “No she was treating us like a slave. It was the opposite. I was cooking, washing her sometimes, buying food. She was living like a princess in my house.”
The defendants began to tape record interrogations of Miss Lionnet about Mr Walton after the final call with her mother.
Mr Horwell said their behaviour on tape was “pretty awful” and suggested they were even worse when the device was switched off.
He said: “Did you think it was appropriate to treat a 21-year-old woman who was not particularly worldly-wise in this way?”
Kouider replied: “She did want to be interrogated otherwise she would not be there.”
Suggesting a hypothetical conversation, Mr Horwell said: “‘Can Medouni and I abuse you again, call you worse than a murderer, accuse you of being like the French who sold the Jews to the Nazis, do you mind if we do it all over again?’ And she said yes? Is that how it went?”
Kouider said Miss Lionnet had “apologised” and she had accepted.
She went on: “I wanted her to be alive and make Mark (Walton) pay for what he did to all of us.”
The accused told jurors she wanted to report the wealthy music mogul to police and sue him, but added: “I don’t want his dirty money.”
She claimed her nanny would be alive today if police had taken her seriously.
Kouider, 35, and Medouni, 40, have denied murder, blaming each other for the killing.
But the pair have admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of the body in the back garden.
Jurors have heard the allegation Mr Walton was colluding with Miss Lionnet is untrue.