Protests over killer’s release

Hundreds of people protested yesterday against the planned early release from prison of the former wife of a Belgian paedophile who aided her husband’s abuse and murder of young girls.

The protest took place in Malonne, 45 miles south-east of Brussels, where a convent has offered to take in Michelle Martin, former wife of Marc Dutroux, who is serving life in prison.

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Martin was convicted of helping her husband kidnap, rape and kill girls in the 1990s. She also allowed two eight-year-old girls imprisoned in a basement to die of starvation while Dutroux spent four months in jail for theft.

Residents of Malonne said the idea of having Martin live in the convent was repugnant. “I don’t understand how we can release someone who let children die in a cave,” said one.