Partner of Sabrina Kouider now denies striking fatal blow to Sophie Lionnet
Ouissem Medouni and Sabrina Kouider
The partner of Sabrina Kouider is now claiming that she was responsible for the murder of French nanny Sophie Lionnet at their Southfields home last year. 40-year-old Ouissem Medouni initially had admitted to striking the blow that may have killed Miss Lionnet but has now changed the version of events he is telling to the court at the Old Bailey. He now says that he was asleep when Miss Lionnet died and that it was only his failure to stand up to his fashion designer partner that made him in any way culpable for the death.
35-year-old Ms Kouider, and her partner Medouni, are standing trial for the murder of Miss Lionnet who was employed to look after Ms Kouider’s two children. The prosecution allege that they both held her head under the water in the bath while they were interrogating her about a supposed relationship with Boyzone founder Mark Walton.
The pair had claimed to have been asleep when Ms Lionnet died last September and panicked when they found her body. They are admitting to perverting the course of justice by burning her body in their back garden but both deny murder.
Mr Medouni said in his initial defence statement that he had punched Miss Lionnet after forcing her into a bath. He claimed at this point her head had struck the tiles and she had fallen unconscious. He then removed her from the bath and tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate her. He has since withdrawn this statement saying that he made it in an attempt to protect Ms Kouider. He now say that he found Miss Lionnet in the bath after been woken by his partner who told her that she had stopped breathing.
The pathologist has not been able to identify the cause of death due to the severe burns to the victim’s body. However, Miss Lionnet had received a series of injuries in the days before her death including fractured ribs and a broken jaw. Over eight hours of recordings of interrogations of Miss Lionnet have been recovered from both defendants’ mobile phones. These included Ms Kouider screaming abuse at her and accusing her of stealing jewellery.
The prosecution is alleging that the couple became fixated that their nanny was involved in a plot with Ms Kouider’s ex-boyfriend Mark Walton, a music producer who founded the Irish boyband Boyzone. A handwritten account by Miss Lionnet has been found in which she claimed that Mr Walton assaulted her but also had promised to get her a job in films. She also describes secret meetings with Mr Walton in which he demanded to know details of Ms Kouider’s life. The court was told that this account was a fabrication and Mr Walton has denied ever meeting Miss Lionnet and not having heard of her until he was contacted by detectives investigating the case.
It is alleged that the couple started to beat Miss Lionnet when they found out about her claims about meetings with Mr Walton. He had been involved in a two-year relationship with Ms Kouider from 2011 and that he had paid for nannies to look after her children. According to him she had fired some of them accusing them of being interested in him or for stealing money and that she was subject to extreme mood swings.
Earlier in proceedings the court had heard that Miss Lionnet had confided in a local fast food proprietor that Ms Kouider had regularly beaten her.
The trial continues.
April 6, 2018