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Rapist- Killer Guilty

A CHILD rape and murder case that horrified Belgium and shook the country's legal system has ended in guilty verdicts against the main accused and his accomplices.
Convicted sex-offender Marc Dutroux, 47, carried out the attacks while free on parole.
In verdicts broadcast live on Belgian television, the 12-member jury convicted the unemployed electrician of kidnapping, imprisoning and raping six girls between 1995 and 1996. Four of the girls died.
He was found guilty of murdering two of them, both teenagers, and of killing an accomplice, Bernard Weinstein. The three bodies were found buried on Dutroux's property.
The other two girls starved to death in early 1996 while imprisoned in a basement cell in Dutroux's house while he served a short jail term for car theft.
The Jury blamed Dutroux's former wife and co-defendant.
Michelle Martin, for the deaths of the two eight-year-old girls, who were the first to be abducted. Dutroux was found guilty of kidnapping the pair.
Martin testified that she was too afraid to go downstairs to feed the two girls. She was found guilty of imprisonment leading to death.
The last victims, Sabine Dardenne, then 12, and Laetitia Delhez, then 14, were rescued from the basement two days after Dutroux was arrested on August 13, 1996.
Relatives of the victims hailed the verdicts at the end of a 3 1/2 month trial.
"The verdict is an extraordinary relief," said Jean Lambrecks, the father of one murdered girl.
Dutroux was out on parole at the time of the crimes after serving a prison sentence for raping young girls in the 1980s.
Revelations of inept police work following his arrest turned a nation's grief into outrage at incompetent officials.
They searched the house twice, but failed to find the secret cells, even though they heard voices.
About 300,000 people took to the streets of Brussels in 1996, in the biggest postwar demonstrations, to protest over delays and faults in the investigation.
Another accomplice, Michel Leilevre, was convicted over the kidnappings and other charges.
The final co-defendant, Michel Nihoul, was convicted of being part of a gang that smuggled drugs and people into Belgium, but he was acquitted of kidnapping charges.
Dutroux faces up to life in prison, while Martin and Lelievre could be jailed for 35 years and Nihoul up to 25 years, a court spokesman said.
Dutroux admitted to kidnapping and sexually abusing the two survivors - Ms Dardenne and Ms Delhez.
Both delivered courageous, emotional testimony, staring Dutroux in the eye and asking him why he did what he did. Dutroux did not respond.

Adelaide Advertiser (19-6-2004)
Alexander Ratz
 
 
 

 

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Suspense In Dutroux Case

ARLON, Belgium- Jurors spent a third day yesterday deliberating the fate of Marc Dutroux and three co- defendants in a horrific child rape and murder case. The jury of eight women and four men was locked away after the 14- week trial in which they heard testimony from more than 500 witnesses, including the only two surviving victims.

Adelaide Advertiser (17-6-2004)


Dutroux Lashes Out At Rape, Murder Trial

ARLON, Belgium; Marc Dutroux has launched a final tirade at his trial for the rape, abduction and murder of several girls, denouncing "liars and manipulators" and insisting he did not act alone. Giving his closing address before the jury retires to consider its verdict next week, Belgium's "most hated man" reprised claims that he was the hapless fall- guy for a shadowy gang of pedophiles.
The former electrician is on trial along with his ex-wife and two other men over the abduction and rape in the mid-1990s of six girls, two of whom were murdered and two others aged eight who starved to death. He faces life injail.

Adelaide Advertiser (11-6-2004)



Ex-Wife Accused On Child Sex Killings

ARLON, Belgium: The trial of child rapist Marc Dutroux is in its final phase, as lawyers begin their closing arguments in a case that shocked Belgium and the world a decade ago.
After three months of harrowing testimony, the closing phase of Belgium's "trial of the century" is expected to last two or three weeks, before the Jury retires to consider its verdict in mid-June.
Lawyers for the families of two of the victims both called for Dutroux to be convicted- but differed on whether he was part of a wider pedophile network. The trial opened in March in the town of Arlon.
Dutroux is charged with the abduction and rape of six girls and the murder of two of them in the mid-1990s. While he has confessed to some of the kidnappings and rapes, Dutroux denies murder.
The lawyers of Sabine Dardenne, who was rescued after being repeatedly raped and beaten during the 80 days she was held in a cell in Dutroux's basement in 1996 at age 12, took to the flow yesterday.
Lawyer Celine Parisse spoke directly to Dutroux's ex-wife and co-accused, Michelle Martin, charging that she bore a heavy responsibility in the ordeal suffered by Ms Dardenne, now 20, and survivor Laetitia Delhez.
"Sabine thinks your responsibility is as great as that of Dutroux", having known about their suffering but done nothing to stop it, she said.

AAP (26-5-2004)


Police Could Have Saved Girls, Court Told

POLICE were told of the whereabouts of one of the victims of alleged child murderer and pedophile Marc Dutroux one year before she was found dead, a court here has heard.
Throughout the Dutroux investigation and trial there have been allegations and rumours of police incompetence at best, collusion at worst - charges given further weight by yesterday's testimony.
The court was told by a former neighbour of Dutroux's that she saw one of the victims, eight-year-old Melissa Russo, outside Dutroux's house in Marcinelle, near the town of Charleroi, in August 1995, seven weeks after she had been abducted.
She immediately contacted the police station at Grace- Hollogne, near Liege in eastern Belgium, which was co-ordinating the hunt for Melissa and her friend Julie Lejuene, also aged eight. Both had vanished on June 34. "I think that Melissa is at Marc Dutroux's house. I am not certain but I think it is her," Beatrice Luyckafasseel told the court she remembered telling the police. Melissa, she said, was with Michelle Martin, at the time Dutroux's wife.
"The person who answered the phone replied that the necessary steps would be taken straight away," she told the court, which is trying Dutroux, Martin, Michel Leiievre, described as Dutroux's right-hand man, and former businessman Michel Nihoul.
A year later, the bodies of the two girls were found buried in the garden of another house owned by Dutroux. They allegedly starved to death during their long imprisonment in a cellar at the house in Marcinelle.
Ms Luyckafasseel, who lived right next to Dutroux's house, said the police never got back in touch.
Dutroux faces life imprisonment on charges of rape, kidnapping and murder.

Adelaide Advertiser (1-5-2004)
Philippe Siuberski


Charges Set Out In Child Sex Kidnaps

PROSECUTORS set out charges against Marc Dutroux and his co-defendants yesterday on the second day of trial in a child-sex and murder case which has horrified Belgians.
The 12-strong jury selected on Monday will hear murder, rape and kidnapping allegations dating back to the mid-1990s,
Court spokesman Nico Snelders said opening remarks would be made by prosecutor Michel Bourlet and by Dutroux's defence team as well as lawyers for the three co-defendants, who include Dutroux's ex-wife. Dutroux and the others are scheduled to enter their pleas today.
Investigators have spent eight years preparing the trial against Dutroux and the others who were arrested in 1996. The case focuses on six girls who the prosecution says were randomly snatched from streets around Belgium, held prisoner in Dutroux's homes near the city of Charleroi and subjected to repeated sexual abuse.
Four died - including two eight- year-old schoolmates believed to have starved to death while imprisoned in a basement cell under Dutroux's home when the convicted rapist went to jail for car theft in 1995.
Although two of the young girls were rescued by police, the case caused public outcry after revelations of inept police work.
Dutroux's lawyer Ronny Baudewijn said the defence would argue that Dutroux was only a small part of a criminal network that had links to Belgian law enforcement.
Dutroux made similar allegations in a letter sent to the Belgian media yesterday when he said co-defendant Michel Nihoul - a small-time Brussels businessman with fraud convictions - was an underworld linchpin.
Nihoul, 62, faces charges of kidnapping Laetitia Delhez, one of the rescued girls, who was 14 at the time. He denies involvement.
Besides Dutroux and Nihoul, in the dock are Dutroux's ex-wife, Michelle Martin, 44, who is accused of conspiracy in the kidnapping, and a friend Michel Lelievre, 32, who faces various charges of kidnapping, rape and possession of drugs.

Adelaide Advertiser (3-3-2004)
Constant Brand


Marc Dutroux
Pic- Marc Dutroux



Kidnapped Girl Tells Of Her 80 days In Hellhole

BRUSSELS: Seven years after being kidnapped, caged and raped by Belgium's most notorious pedophile, Sabine Dardenne has told her story for the first time
Ms Dardenne, who was 12 when she was taken by Marc Dutroux in 1996, said she had been chained by the neck to a bed and brainwashed as she was held for 80 days in a house in the country's south
Ms Dardenne, 19, whose plight made world headlines, said she was kidnapped by Dutroux while riding to school on her bike near the south-western town of Tournai.
"He chained me to the bed by my neck," she said. "I stayed there two or three days."
Ms Dardenne was then moved to Dutroux's cellar, where he had built a secret compartment.
"There were some pallets and a mattress on the floor and a bare light bulb," she said, adding she was fed on "cold tins of meatballs in tomato sauce" and "bread that went, mouldy after two or three days".
Dutroux managed to persuade the 12-year-old that he was protecting her from some greater harm.
"He made himself out to be a nice man who had saved my life. saying that someone else was trying to kill me or capture me." she said. "Someone powerful who wanted to harm me, and who wanted money from my parents. In this sense he was my friend, my saviour."
But if she disobeyed him, Ms Dardenne said Dutroux threatened he would "hand me over to some gang or other that he knew and that the person he'd give me to would torture me and kill me after making me suffer".
Dutroux is widely believed by the public to have acted on behalf of a high-level pedophile network rumoured to have included senior politicians and judges.

Adelaide Advertiser (26-2-2003)



Protests Over Paedophile Escape

Demonstrations have been taking place in Brussels as demands grow for heads to roll over the escape of a notorious paedophile and alleged serial killer.
Marc Dutroux was recaptured after three and a half hours on the run on Thursday. He was caught on foot less than 10km south-west of the town where he had escaped.
Teh convicted paedophile had overpowered his guard at the towns' law court, where he was examining papers relating to his impending trial for the kidap and murder of several children.
Organisers of the public protests on Friday said the police chief Willy Derrider was more responsible for the escape than the justice and interior ministers who have both already resigned over the incident.
Mass demonstrations have also been called throughout the weekend as the preesure mounts on Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene for his entire government to step down. The opposition is also planning a vote of no confidence next week.
The Belgian public has already proven that it can turn out in force on this issue.
Public anger over the handling of Marc Dutroux's case bought a quarter of a million people on to the streets of Brussels in October 1996 in the so-called 'White March'. An official report by the Belgian parliament exonerated police officers of protecting Dutroux directly, but said the investigation into his activites was handled so badly that, in effect, he enjoyed "indirect protection".

BBC News (24-4-1998)

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