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Woman accused of murder heard screaming at nanny, court told

Family friend Steven Brown said he witnessed Sabrina Kouider screaming at Ms Lionnet in French on more than one occasion.

A mother accused of murdering her French nanny was heard screaming “horrible” abuse at her in a violent outburst, a jury was told.

Sophie Lionnet was allegedly tortured and killed by her employers Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, at their home in Wimbledon, south-west London.

The pair kept the 21-year-old’s body in the flat for more than a week after she died, before throwing her remains on a bonfire in the back garden, an Old Bailey jury heard.

Sophie Lionnet (Met Police/PA)

Family friend Steven Brown said he witnessed Kouider screaming at Ms Lionnet in French on more than one occasion when he visited the house in 2016.

He described Kouider as “abusive and aggressive – violent”, and added: “It was horrible.”

“Sophie was afraid, she recoiled,” he told the court.

He said the au pair looked “scared and hungry” and was wearing a jumper, which completely covered her arms and neck, in the height of summer.

“She seemed very uncomfortable, like she was in some kind of a trance or something – she didn’t look right,” he added.

Mr Brown said he was so worried about Ms Lionnet eating enough, that he took a shepherd’s pie round for her.

Sophie Lionnet’s mother Catherine Devallonne and father Patrick Lionnet outside the Old Bailey (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

When he confronted Kouider about her behaviour, she said Ms Lionnet was “lazy” and did not do enough cooking.

Kouider and Medouni have admitted perverting the course of justice by attempting to burn the body, but deny murder.

Neighbours alerted the fire brigade after noticing smoke and a “horrible” smell coming from the property on the afternoon of September 20 last year.

Fashion designer Kouider alleged Miss Lionnet had been recruited to spy on her by her former boyfriend Mark Walton, a founding member of boy band Boyzone, in exchange for £18,000 and the promise of “fame”.

The court has previously heard her claims against Mr Walton and “shy” Miss Lionnet were outlandish and wholly untrue.

She claimed Miss Lionnet had run away a few days earlier and her partner had wanted to have a barbecue.

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