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London nanny murder suspect says co-accused beat victim

LONDON: A man on trial over the murder of a French au-pair in London claimed Tuesday his co-accused beat the victim with such ferocity that she struggled to walk.

Ouissem Medouni is accused of killing 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet, who looked after the two children of his partner Sabrina Kouider.

On the second day of his testimony at the Old Bailey central criminal court, Medouni recounted an incident when he was woken up by the nanny’s screams.

“She was in the kitchen sitting in a corner and Sabrina was hitting her with an electrical cable,” he told jurors.

Medouni said he stopped his partner attacking Lionnet, who had worked for the family since December 2015, and took the nanny to a bedroom.

“She was not well, I was in shock as well. She couldn’t walk properly,” he said.

The defendant told jurors he thought the incident took place on September 13, a week before Lionnet’s charred remains were found on a bonfire tended by Medouni.

He told the court he chose not to phone a doctor after Lionnet was beaten because he did not want the authorities to become involved and possibly take the children away.

“I needed to get fresh air and get out from this mad house. It was too much,” said Medouni, who went for a walk and returned to the family home after Kouider phoned him crying.

He testified to finding Lionnet in the bath and his partner kneeling beside her, “very emotional, crying”.

“I was in total shock when I saw the bruises. When I think about that this is where I really should have done something,” he said.

Lionnet’s cause of death is unknown due to the attempt to dispose of her body, although a scientist found she suffered bruising, and fractures to her sternum and ribs between 36 hours and three days before dying.

She is also known to have sustained a fractured jawbone within hours of her death.

Both Medouni and Kouider deny murder and have pleaded guilty to trying to conceal Lionnet’s body.

Prosecutors argue the pair tortured the au-pair and subjected her to interrogations, which have been broadcast in court.

The trial started on March 19 and is due to continue until May 11.

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