Court orders release of Belgian child killer's ex-wife

9th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Belgian court Monday ordered the early release of Michelle Martin, ex-wife of one of Europe's most infamous child killers, Marc Dutroux, media said.

Thrown behind bars in 1996 and handed a 30-year sentence for her role in the grisly Dutroux murders, 51-year-old Martin was granted conditional release on her fourth attempt to win freedom by a court in the western city of Mons, RTL-TVI television reported, citing the prosecutor.

The prosecution, which opposes her release, has until Tuesday to appeal the decision to set her free halfway through her term. Martin will remain in jail until the Tuesday decision.

In a traumatic case that remains fresh in the minds of Belgians, Dutroux was jailed for life in June 2004 for the kidnap and rape of six young girls and teenagers in the mid-1990s, four of whom died.

Martin was found guilty of helping the convicted paedophile hold his victims prisoner and of responsibility in the death of two of the small girls, who starved to death in a cellar in the southern city of Charleroi.

Outrage over the case and suspicions of a wider paedophilia network grew, with more than 300,000 people taking to the street in Brussels in October 1996, in the first of a series of marches to protest judicial incompetence.

© 2011 AFP

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