Designer tells court how partner waterboarded and killed French nanny

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A fashion designer told how her partner waterboarded and killed her French nanny then laughed as he tried to put her into a suitcase to see if a body would fit.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, said she had a “panic attack” after waking up to find Sophie Lionnet dead next to Ouissem Medouni in September last year.

Earlier that night, Medouni, 40, known as Sam, had allegedly dunked the 21-year-old au pair’s head into a saucepan of water as he tortured her.

The court heard he became enraged at claims she had helped Kouider’s ex-boyfriend Mark Walton drug and molest him at the family home in Wimbledon, south-west London.

It was the culmination of hours of tape-recorded questioning by the couple over bizarre allegations against the former Boyzone singer.

Giving evidence, Kouider admitted she had mistreated Ms Lionnet on three occasions, hitting her with electrical cable and pushing her.

Her partner then became “aggressive” when Ms Lionnet told him Mr Walton had spiked his drink and sexually abused him, the Old Bailey heard.

He had stripped off to his underpants and made Ms Lionnet put her hands on his body to demonstrate where he had been touched, the court heard.

The defendant said: “After that, Sam (stood) up and he was really really upset and grabbed Sophie in the face, telling her: ‘Why did you do this to me, how come you drugged me?’ He was just shouting and I was scared and said: ‘Sam, please stop it.’ He pushed me on the sofa.

“He stood up. He put his clothes on and he took a big saucepan and he put water in it.

“He put her head in and then he was putting a towel on her face and putting water in her mouth.

“I was shocked and scared because he was really behaving so scary, and he told me not to get involved.

“He said: ‘You are going to talk now.’ He took her in the bathroom. I saw Sophie in the bathroom and he was still doing the same thing with the towel and putting water on her.”

There was “shouting and splashing”, she said: “I told him to stop, but he refused to stop. He was really, really angry.”

She said: “To be honest I was really, really tired. I did not sleep for a couple of days. I did not hear anything when I lay down. When I woke up I saw Sam standing next to the body.”

Medouni carried out CPR, and when she asked what he had done, he allegedly replied: “I did not mean to. She was driving me crazy.”

Kouider said he told her it was an accident.

She added: “It was scary seeing Sophie with her eyes open, not moving. I told him we should do something.

“I was thinking it’s just a bad dream. I started hitting myself. Sam was holding his head. I told him we should probably call (999) and he said, not yet.

“I was scared of him. I was scared of everything. I felt he was so strange. I could not believe Sophie passed away. I was panicking and he asked me to change Sophie and start cleaning and he’s just sitting without moving.

“He wanted to burn the body in the garden. He told me to ‘call your Russian friend and they will deal with it’. And I said I don’t know people who deal with this.

“He tried to put me in the suitcase to see if the body would fit in. I was shaking and crying and he was just laughing.”

Kouider told jurors she prepared the barbecue and put leaves and clothes on the bonfire to burn the body in the suitcase.

Icah Peart QC, defending, asked: “Did you light either the barbecue or the fire which Sophie’s body went on?”

She replied: “I just helped but I did not put it on. As soon as it started I left. I was not feeling well and he told me: ‘You’re not going nowhere.’”

Kouider and Medouni have admitted perverting the course of justice, but deny murder.

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