Dutch convent may take child killer

15th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Dutch convent has said it may offer shelter to Michelle Martin, the ex-wife and accomplice of notorious Belgian paedophile killer Marc Dutroux, its mother superior said Thursday.

"In principle the doors are not closed," Sister Sara of the Dominicans of Bethany in Thorn, southern Netherlands, told Dutch actuality programme Een Vandaag.

"I want to find out what her feeling is about what she had done, about God and the community," she told the show aired on public television.

Belgian courts will rule on September 22 on the early release of Martin, 51, after her lawyers filed an application in late August.

She was granted release on parole in May after serving only half of a 30-year sentence, but cannot walk free until conditions laid out by her lawyers are met -- one of which was to resettle in a convent across the border.

Convicted of helping Dutroux hold victims prisoner and of starving two young girls to death, Martin had hoped to transfer into a convent in France, but her request was turned down and her release suspended.

The Dutch nuns believed that "everybody deserved a second chance," Sister Sara said, adding "just because people do monstrous deeds, they are not necessarily monsters."

The prospect of her release had triggered an outcry in both Belgium and France.

Dutroux was jailed for life in June 2004 for the kidnap and rape in the 1990s of six girls, four of whom died.

© 2011 AFP

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