Expatica news

Victims visit Dutroux ‘horror house’

27 April 2004

BRUSSELS – The two girls who were rescued from a secret dungeon built by suspected child murderer Marc Dutroux on Tuesday went back to the scene of their imprisonment.

Sabine Dardenne and Laetitia Delhez were among the 110 people driven 180 kilometres from the Arlon courthouse where Dutroux is standing trial to the convicted paedophile’s house in the city of Marcinelle.

Dardenne, who is 20, was 12 when Dutrox allegedly kidnapped and imprisoned her. Delhez is now 22 and was 14 at the time of Dutroux’s alleged crimes.

Delhez said it was important for her to visit the dungeon in order to help her “come to terms” with her ordeal. 

Dutroux, his co-defendant Michel Lelievre and his ex-wife Michelle Martin were also driven to the Marcinelle house on Tuesday.

The aim of the visit was to show members of the jury and other people taking part in Dutroux trial the dungeon the alleged child murderer built at his Marcinelle house.

According to witnesses who have already testified in Arlon, the cell was hidden in a disused water tank and was 1.6 metres high, one meter wide and 2.15 metres long. It had nearly no ventilation and no natural light.

The cell was so well hidden that police officers failed to discover it despite making several visits to Dutroux’s house while the convicted paedophile had young girls hidden inside, it is alleged.

It is alleged that two young girls – Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, both aged eight – starved to death in the cell before Dutroux imprisoned Delhez and Dardenne in it.

Dardenne and Delhez were freed from the cell on August 15, 1996 when Dutroux, who had earlier been arrested, lead police to his Marcinelle house.

Meanwhile one of the substitute jurors in the Dutroux case has been dropped, it was reported on Tuesday.

Presiding Judge Stephane Goux relived the juror of his duties because the man failed to remain impartial in court

When one of the trial lawyers suggested that Dutroux may have killed a former accomplice called Claude Tirault, the juror said “like he did with Weinstein”.

Dutroux’s lawyers complained the comment showed that the man did not respect principle of presumption of innocence that underpins all democratic trials.

Dutroux is also accused of murdering another accomplice Bernard Weinstein, but he has not been convicted for the alleged offence.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news