Aid Oud sentenced to life in prison
The child rapist convicted of raping and murdering Stacy and Nathalie has been sentenced to life in prison.
11 June 2008
BRUSSELS - A child rapist convicted of raping and murdering two schoolgirls in eastern Belgium in 2006 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday.
Judge Stephane Goux told Abdallah Ait Oud, 40, that the 28-year sentence is "serious punishment" that includes giving authorities the right to keep him behind bars indefinitely if they determine he is threat to society, notably children.
On Tuesday, a jury in Liege had convicted Ait Oud on 23 counts of abduction, rape and murder in the killings of stepsisters Stacy Lemmens, 7, and Nathalie Mahy, 10.
Ait Oud was a convicted rapist who had been released from a secure psychiatric unit in December 2005 after serving a sentence for child sex abuse.
Ait Oud’s lawyers claim their client played no part in the disappearance, rape and murder of the two schoolgirls in the summer of 2006.
Ait Oud denies involvement in the disappearance of the stepsisters, whose bodies were found in late June 2006 after a three-week search.
Their bodies were found stuffed into a storm sewer alongside a railroad line running through Liege after a three-week, nationwide search.
The girls' remains were discovered 10 metres apart, stuffed into a storm sewer covered by thick undergrowth alongside a railroad line running through Liege.
Their bodies were just a few hundred meters from a cafe where they had been with relatives before heading out to play during a late-night street party.
Police and prosecutors used DNA samples taken from strands of hair found on Ait Oud's clothes that matched those taken from Stacy. They also said they found trace remnants of plants on Ait Oud's trousers, the same kinds that grew near the railway where the bodies were found.
This plus witness testimony from nine children who saw Ait Oud talking to the girls was used to make the case against the convicted rapist.
Authorities say Ait Oud also failed a lie detector test after he turned himself in for questioning by police in the weeks after the crimes.
His crime revived painful memories of convicted paedophile Marc Dutroux, who snatched two 8-year-olds, Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, from a Liege street in 1985, held them for months, before allowing them to starve to death locked in a basement while he served time for a minor offense.
Dutroux was eventually sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for a string of murders, rapes and kidnaps.
Ait Oud appeared to faint during the reading of the verdict on Tuesday, and when he regained consciousness in the court he shouted that he is innocent.
[AP / Expatica]