Ex-wife of child murderer Marc Dutroux on conditional release


The ex-wife and accomplice of Marc Dutroux, the convicted child murderer whose crimes horrified Belgium in the mid-1990s, is to be released from prison and sent to a convent, a court ruled yesterday.

Dutroux was arrested in 1996 and later found guilty of kidnapping and raping six girls. He killed two of them and left two others to starve to death in a makeshift dungeon.

His former wife, Michelle Martin, has been behind bars since 1996 – she had been sentenced to 30 years in jail for her part in helping Dutroux. Having served half of her term, Martin has been cleared for conditional release, and yesterday a court in the Belgian city of Mons accepted a plan to house her in a convent.

The decision angered the families of victims. “I have a profound rage,” Jean-Denis Lejeune, father of Julie, one of the girls left to die in the cellar, told Belgian broadcaster RTL.

“You kill a child, you rape a child. They are raped, they are killed for life.” While only the Belgian prosecutor can appeal against the ruling, a lawyer for the families of two victims said they would challenge the way the case was handled.