Paedophile murderer’s ex-wife wins early release
The former wife and accomplice of child murderer Marc Dutroux, whose crimes horrified Belgium in the 1990s, will be freed after serving half her jail term, a Belgian court has ruled.
Belgium’s highest appeal court yesterday dismissed a bid by prosecutors to overturn a lower court’s decision last month to approve Michelle Martin’s early release.
Her lawyer said she is expected to move into a convent which has already been daubed with graffiti by angry protesters.
Dutroux was arrested in 1996 and found guilty of kidnapping and raping six girls. He killed two and left two others to starve to death in a makeshift dungeon.
Martin failed to feed the girls while Dutroux was in jail for car theft. She was convicted of helping him and has now served 16 years of a 30-year sentence.
Presiding judge Albert Fettweis dismissed the appeal before a packed court. Under Belgian law, criminals can be freed after serving a third of their sentences, as long as they meet certain conditions.
Among the crowd in the court earlier in the day was Jean-Denis Lejeune, whose daughter Julie was left to die in Dutroux’s cellar.
About ten protesters stood outside the court hearing, two holding a banner reading “Hang Paedophiles”.
Martin is due to live in the convent in the village of Malonne, 40 miles south-east of Brussels and just 20 miles from the house where Dutroux kept the girls captive.
The Poor Clares’ convent, which has said it agreed to take her in, is next to a nursery school. The mayor of Namur, which oversees Malonne, said on Monday that he had no means to prevent Martin’s arrival and police were already prepared to control protests.
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