Murder-accused fashion designer bragged of Donald Trump links, court told
Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murder.
A fashion designer accused of killing her French nanny claimed to have “friends in high places” and even name-checked US President Donald Trump, a court heard.
Sabrina Kouider bragged about her connections as she interrogated Sophie Lionnet about supposed links to her ex-boyfriend Mark Walton, formerly of Boyzone.
On September 11 last year, days before the 21-year-old au pair’s death, Kouider told her: “You know very well that all my friends are in high places.
“When I told you about Donald Trump you started laughing.
“When I told you about my friends, you have seen them, those in journalism, actors, producers, in make-up, in fashion, in music. They are clean people.”
Under cross-examination, her partner Ouissem Medouni confirmed she did know one film producer and a journalist.
But prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “Do you think she was a little delusional about the people she knew and the contacts that she had?”
Medouni replied: “I would say that she knew people, but not as famous.”
Mr Horwell said: “Is the reality she may have made statements like ‘I know people in high places’ and didn’t?”
The defendant failed to respond.
Kouider, 35, and Medouni, 40, are accused of torturing Miss Lionnet over false claims she was in league with LA-based Mr Walton.
In September last year, they allegedly killed her in the bath then burned her body on a bonfire in their garden in Wimbledon, south-west London.
The Old Bailey heard the couple’s relentless questioning of Miss Lionnet culminated in a videoed “confession” hours before her death.
Mr Horwell suggested Miss Lionnet, who suffered broken ribs and breast bone, was “terrified” of the defendants.
But Medouni maintained she was “terrified of telling what really happened, she was doing what he (Mr Walton) asked her to do”.
Mr Horwell went on: “Is your evidence to the jury that during this process Sophie was not frightened of either you or Sabrina?
“She had four broken ribs and a fractured sternum. You knew she had difficulty walking and that quite often means some form of internal injury.”
Medouni, who has blamed his partner for beating Miss Lionnet, said: “It was not me. I didn’t know.”
But he admitted Miss Lionnet was “not in a good state” in the final video, in which she appeared cowed and emaciated as she confirmed the couple’s outlandish beliefs about Mr Walton.
The prosecutor asserted: “It’s a crazy story and you happened to believe it.
“So what did you think of your handiwork by the time the video had been taken? Pleased with what you had to show the police?”
Medouni told jurors that he was “not pleased”.
The defendants have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murder.
Medouni claimed he was going to hand into police the video of Miss Lionnet confessing that Mr Walton had drugged and sexually abused the household.
But Mr Horwell said: “Sophie was the weakness in this plan and she had to be eliminated, didn’t she?”
“What was to stop Sophie saying to the police that ‘the pair of them are maniacs, they have not been paying me for months, they have been imprisoning me in the flat, beating me, shoving my head under water to torture me and getting me to say absurd things about drugs and Walton. They’re mad’?
“What did you think the police were going to do?”
Medouni insisted the nanny’s bruises were “balanced” against what happened to the family.
The prosecutor asserted: “You had become so obsessed that the only way this plan was going to work was by killing this ‘worthless’ woman.”
Medouni replied: “No and no and no.”
Mr Horwell went on: “I suggest there was an occasion when you and Sabrina were together, torturing Sophie in an attempt to get information from her, because that’s the degree of your obsession at this time, because you thought any means were justified.”
Medouni denied harming Miss Lionnet and said he was asleep when she stopped breathing in the bath.
On the bid to cover up her death, Mr Horwell asked: “How did you feel setting fire to the body of another human being?”
Medouni paused before saying it was “disgusting” and “horrible”, adding that he did not want to do it but Kouider asked him.