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Sabrina Kouider; Sophie Lionnet

Badly charred body of French au-pair found at rich Muslim couple’s home

A Muslim couple have been charged with murder on Friday after discovering a badly-burned body near their London home. Reports identified the body as that of a 21-year-old French au-pair.

Published: September 24, 2017, 10:50 am

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    London

    The victim, Sophie Lionnet, was a happy 21-year-old French au-pair from Troyes in north-eastern France. She had been employed to look after the Muslim couple’s two children.

    Thousands of young French women work as au pairs in London, where there is a 300 000 strong French community.

    The police were called on Wednesday evening to a house in Wandsworth, south-west London “following reports of a fire and a person deceased”, a statement said.

    “A body was found at the scene. The body was too badly burned to establish the gender and age. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.”

    Ouissem Medouni, 40, and Sabrina Kouider, 34, were charged on Friday morning for murder of an unknown person. The badly charred body was found in the garden of their expensive home on Pulborough Road, which leads off Wimbledon Park Road, at a residential address.

    Kouider is the glamorous ex-girlfriend of the Boyzone band founder Mark Walton. Medouni is an Algerian. Forensic officers were on Thursday seen removing a body from the garden.

    Neighbours had noticed the “foul-smelling smoke” coming from Kouider’s garden. A young boy had scaled the apartment’s back yard gate and reported the huge bonfire with a man throwing what he thought were “sticks” on the flames.

    British tabloid The Sun spoke to a friend from her school in Paron, in the south of Paris, who said that Sophie was a “happy, socially aware young woman who everybody loved”.

    According to neighbours, Lionnet, who had been living in London for 14 months to study English, had not been seen for weeks.

    There are suggestions she was deeply unhappy with her employer and had been due to fly back home to France on Monday but never arrived.

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