The French au pair believed to have met her grisly demise at the hands of a well-to-do couple she worked for was remembered Saturday by a devastated pal as the “rock” for the children she cared for, as haunting video emerged of her sweetly playing with one of her young charges.
“We are so grateful the boys had her. She was the stability for them,” the unidentified pal told The Sun of Sophie Lionnet, whose scorched corpse was discovered in the back yard of the $1.2 million Wandsworth, London home of French-Algerian designer/makeup artist Sabrina Kouider, 34, and her boyfriend Ouissem Medouni, 40, according to local reports.
Officers were called to the home last Wednesday when neighbors walking their kids home from school reported a fire and “foul-smelling” smoke, the Guardian reported.
“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,” police said in a statement. Local papers identified the body as Lionnet, a 21-year-old nanny from Troyes, a town in northeast France.
Lionnet had been sharing a home with the family for about a year to care for Kouider’s two children — one, a 6-year-old boy sired by Mark Walton, founding member of pop band Boyzone, and now a “Pop Idol” judge living in LA, the Sun reported.
The couple paid Lionnet just $68 per month, according to the Daily Mail. The au pair had grown “unhappy” with her job, another friend told The Telegraph, and was set to fly home last Monday.
“It’s not fair, it’s not right. We would see her everywhere in south London with the boys,” Lionnet’s chum from the Andre Malraux Paron College told the outlet. “She was at the library with them. She was their rock. Wherever she went she was with the boys. We never saw her without the boys, ever.”
All of London’s nannies are grieving, the friend continued.
“You get to know nannies in the area because we all go to the same places, to the library and things,” she told The Sun. “We are all in absolute pieces over it.”
A YouTube video shows Lionnet playing with a child believed to be Kouider’s son, who films himself playing Minecraft, the Sun reported. “I want to show who I am and this is the person who is doing the video,” the child says.
Lionnet waves at the boy and offers a cheery “Hello, Hello.”
Kouider and Medouni were both charged Friday for the murder and due in court on Sept. 26.