Serial killer Dutroux’s ‘house of horror’ demolished in Belgium
Work to demolish a Belgian property where Marc Dutroux, one of history’s most notorious serial killers, sequestered young girls began on Tuesday, to make way for a memorial to victims of paedophilia.
ork to demolish a Belgian property where Marc Dutroux, one of history’s most notorious serial killers, sequestered young girls began on Tuesday, to make way for a memorial to victims of paedophilia.
Known as the “house of horror”, the rundown cluster of buildings in the city of Charleroi is where Dutroux was arrested in August 1996 after a 14-year-old went missing and was found alive cowering in the basement along with a girl of 12.
The investigation into Belgium’s worst paedophile crimes also established that two eight-year-old girls found starved to death the next day in another Dutroux residence had previously been held in the property, in the city’s Marcinelle district.
The two, Julie and Melissa, had been kidnapped in June 1995, 14 months before the discovery of their bodies.
Public shock turned to fury as it emerged not only that police had missed a string of clues, but that Dutroux had been released from jail in 1992 after serving just three years of a 13-year sentence for the abduction and rape of five girls.
Officials said the objective of the demolition is to build a “memorial garden” in the place of the block of houses that became infamous throughout the country.
The memorial has been designed in consultation with the parents of Julie and Melissa.
The city’s urban planner, Arthur Hardy, said the garden will be built on a concrete slab that will preserve the property’s original basement below.
“This reserves the possibility in the future to access these cellars,” he said.
Several families of the victims consider that important questions in the case remain unanswered and asked for the basement be left intact for potential future investigations.
Sentenced in 2004 to life imprisonment, Dutroux, today aged 65, was found guilty of having kidnapped, confined and raped six girls and young women in 1995-1996.
Only two of them, Sabine and Laetitia, survived, found walled up in the Marcinelle property the day after his arrest.