Couple guilty of murdering French nanny Sophie Lionnet and burning her body

A couple have been found guilty of murdering their French nanny after her burned remains were found in their garden.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, killed Sophie Lionnet over a bizarre obsession with an ex-Boyzone pop star.

The shy 21-year-old au pair was starved and tortured by the couple in the weeks leading up to her death in September last year.

She was beaten, killed and thrown on a bonfire by her employers after being accused of being "in league" with Kouider's ex-partner Mark Walton, a founding member of the Irish boy band.

Kouider and Medouni interrogated their nanny for hours to extract some sort of "confession" to confirm their "perverted suspicions", dunking her head in a bath.

Within hours, she was dead.

Her body was then thrown on a bonfire in the garden as the pair barbecued chicken at their home near Wimbledon in southwest London.

Snippets of more than eight hours of mobile phone clips of the interrogations, recorded by the defendants, were played to the jury. In them, Miss Lionnet was likened to a Nazi collaborator by her tormentors.

Kouider, who claimed to know influential people including US President Donald Trump, threatened to have her locked up and even marched her to a police station.

Miss Lionnet suffered a fractured jawbone hours before her death and is also known to have suffered bruising and fractures to her sternum and ribs between 36 hours and three days before dying.

Firefighters were alerted by neighbours to strong-smelling smoke, which Medouni tried to pass off as the charred remains of a sheep.

The couple, who are both French nationals, later admitted disposing of Miss Lionnet's body but denied her murder, blaming each other for her death.

A witness in the house, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, placed both of them in the bathroom with Miss Lionnet on the night of her death.

He described hearing Miss Lionnet screaming and splashing in the bath.

Fashion designer Kouider collapsed in tears as the verdicts were returned following a two-month trial, while banker Medouni hung his head.

Miss Lionnet's mother Catherine Devallonne also wept as Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC said he was sure the claims made against her daughter had "no truth whatsoever".

She had begged Kouider to send her daughter home, but she refused.

In an emotional court statement, Mrs Devallonne branded the couple "monsters" and told them: "No one, no god will ever forgive you both for what you have done to my daughter... You are equally as evil as one another."

The victim's father, Patrick Lionnet, said his daughter "couldn't stand seeing others suffering and it breaks my heart to know that she was abused to the end of her life".

The court heard how Kouider was fixated with her ex-boyfriend Mr Walton.

After their two-year relationship ended, she reported him to police more than 30 times and received a caution for calling him a paedophile on a fake Facebook profile.

She also accused him of sexually abusing a cat, using black magic and hiring a helicopter to spy on her.

Mr Walton, who lives in Los Angeles in the US, told jurors during his evidence that he had been "in love" with Kouider but she would "flip" and go "crazy" for no reason.

Another ex-boyfriend, Anthony Francois, described the mother-of-two as a "lunatic, fickle and unstable".

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC told jurors the couple's "unhealthy, myopic, all-consuming and groundless" obsession with Mr Walton had deprived them of reason and turned their nanny into "something less than human".

They are expected to be sentenced on 26 June.