Boyzone founder: I ‘never ever’ knew murdered French nanny

Former member Mark Walton tells court he first heard of Sophie Lionnet from police

Sophie Lionnet: the French nanny worked for the ex-girlfriend of Boyzone member Mark Walton. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

Sophie Lionnet: the French nanny worked for the ex-girlfriend of Boyzone member Mark Walton. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA

 

A founder member of Boyzone embroiled in the murder case of his ex-girlfriend’s French nanny told jurors he “never ever” had any contact with the victim.

Mark Walton, who is based in Los Angeles, was allegedly at the heart of his former partner’s campaign of torture against Sophie Lionnet. Sabrina Kouider (35) and Ouissem Medouni (40) beat the 21-year-old au pair into a so-called confession that she was in league with Mr Walton to spy on the family, the Old Bailey, in London, has heard. Hours later she was killed and her body thrown on to a bonfire in their garden in Wimbledon, in southwest London, the court has heard.

Giving evidence, Mr Walton told jurors the first he heard about Miss Lionnet was on September 21st last year, when he was contacted by murder-squad police.

Prosecutor Richard Horwell QC said: “We have heard that your name was referred to by Sabrina Kouider before and after her arrest. Had you ever heard of Sophie Lionnet?”

Mr Walton said: “Never, ever.”

Mr Horwell asked: “Had you ever talked to her?”

He replied: “Never.”

The lawyer said: “Had you ever communicated with her in any way?”

The witness said: “No way, never.”

Giving evidence: Mark Walton said his ex-girlfriend, Sabrina Kouider, would fire nannies over accusations of stealing and of being interested in him
Giving evidence: Mark Walton said his ex-girlfriend, Sabrina Kouider, would fire nannies over accusations of stealing and of being interested in him. Photograph: VTV3

Created Boyzone

Mr Walton told jurors he created Boyzone in 1993 and was in the band for about a year before going on to be involved in Fifth Avenue. By the time he met Sabrina Kouider, in 2011, he was doing well financially in the music business.

The Irishman told jurors they met at a NatWest bank in Notting Hill and hit it off straightaway.

He said: “I was in love. She was my life then so . . .”

He asked the bank manager who the “pretty” woman was, and the manager said she had said the same about him, the court heard.

Mr Walton said he had helped Kouider financially in her personal life as she worked on her career in fashion.

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

Mr Walton told jurors that within about six weeks of meeting he was supporting Kouider, paying her a few thousand pounds a month. After they had been seeing each other for about a year, they moved in together in Queensway, in west London.

He paid for Kouider’s nannies, but she would fire them over accusations of stealing and of being interested in him. Mr Walton said: “I actually challenged Sabrina on this. I did not believe her. I think some of them were friendly. I’m a friendly guy, but there was nothing more than that.”

The pop musician said they lived together for two years.

On their relationship, he said: “Sabrina shared some stories from her past. I guess, knowing that, I felt it brought us closer together at times, but it was turbulent, probably the most turbulent relationship I had ever been in. She would go from softly spoken French accent, then she would flip, get very angry, very loud and just not care where we were. She would just go crazy over something trivial.”

The trial continues. – PA