Latest: Mother tells court nanny fled after revealing plot with former Boyzone member

File court artist sketch of Ouissem Medouni (left), 40, and his partner Sabrina Kouider, 34, who are facing trial over the death of French nanny Sophie Lionnet, whose body was found on a bonfire. Photo: Elizabeth Cook/PA

Update 4.22pm: A mother claimed her nanny ran off after she threatened to report her to police for plotting with her former Boyzone pop star ex-boyfriend, a court heard.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, was not at home when firefighters found 21-year-old Sophie Lionnet's charred remains on a bonfire in her garden.

She was taken in by a neighbour who found her standing by a police cordon outside the Wimbledon flat on the evening of September 20 last year.

Neighbour Melanie Gamble told jurors she appeared "nervous" and asked to smoke, even though she had given up.

Pc Naomi Townsend said in a statement she was "very emotional and shocked" when she was arrested for murder.

Video footage from a body worn police camera was shown in court of Kouider's initial comments.

Asked what was going on at the house, she said her partner was "going to have a barbecue".

On who lived there, she said: "We had a nanny but she left two days ago.

"We woke up and she's not there.

"We are supposed to have reported it to the police.

"The problem: she told us something very big happened and had been in contact with my ex Mark Walton."

She claimed the former boy band member had paid Miss Lionnet more than £18,000.

Kouider, wearing black leggings and gold plimsolls, told police she worked in fashion from home and had paid her nanny £50 a week.

Kouider and her partner Ouissem Medouni, 40, have admitted perverting the course of justice but deny murder.

Original story (1.23pm): Accused 'shrugged off' discovery of French nanny's remains on bonfire

A firefighter has described how an alleged killer calmly shrugged off the discovery of a French nanny's charred remains in his garden as if to say "the game's up - I've been caught".

Sophie Lionnet, 21, was allegedly tortured and killed by her employers and then thrown onto a bonfire at their home in Wimbledon, south west London.

Neighbours alerted the fire brigade after noticing smoke and a "horrible" smell coming from the property on the afternoon of September 20 last year.

Sabrina Kouider, 35, and Ouissem Medouni, 40, have admitted perverting the course of justice by attempting to burn the body but deny murder.

Firefighter Thomas Hunt confronted Medouni after he found human fingers and a nose as he put out the fire, the Old Bailey heard.

The bonfire was near to a barbecue with chicken cooking on it.

Giving evidence, Mr Hunt said: "I thought it was a very strange place for a self-started bonfire because of the close proximity to the tenants' or owners' property.

"The pile of debris caused damage to the property.

"I thought 'why has he done that here?'. I spoke to the tenant and said 'why would you do that?'.

"He just shrugged his shoulders."

Mr Hunt told jurors he used a small amount of water to put the fire out and was turning it over with a spade when he saw what appeared to be "two blackened logs".

He also noticed clothes and jewellery among the ashes, he said.

He said: "When I recognised it was a body I was concerned for my crew's safety so held it to myself for what seemed like 20 seconds because I did not know if I challenged the occupant what might happen next.

"We were very close to leaving, our job was done. At that point I called to my colleague Jo ' that's a body'.

"I turned to the occupant and asked 'why are you burning a body?"

"He said 'it's a sheep'.

Mr Hunt said "bollocks" in reply.

He added: "I quickly ran through features of a body found on a human being. I could make out a nose and fingers just to get confirmation from my colleagues it was what I thought it was."

Asked how Medouni seemed, he said: "Very calm. When I challenged him he shrugged off the accusation.

"When he sat down there was a look of resignation on him, like 'the game's up, I've been caught'."

In cross-examination, Orlando Pownall QC suggested Medouni may have been "in a daze".

- PA

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