Nanny verdict: Sophie Lionnet 'ripe for exploitation' by abusive employers , court told

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Young and pretty but also niave and vulnerable, this is what made Sophie Lionnet an easy target for exploitation.

She was born in Troyes, in northern France, to divorced parents Catherine Devallone and Patrick Lionnet.

Mrs Devallonne described the 21-year-old as a "nice girl" who was not very chatty but enjoyed the company of her friends.

After finishing school, Miss Lionnet completed a childcare course before coming to London to work for Sabrina Kouider and Ouissem Medouni. She had been introduced to them through a friend of Kouider's brother.

At first she seemed happy. Kouider told how she gave Sophie a make-over and they would enjoy cups of tea together.

The au pair was not immune to her employer's grand delusions. Kouider, who claimed to have influential friends, implied she could get Sophie work in movies alongside the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise.

But as time went on there was a marked deterioration in her circumstances and her health. At times Sophie appeared scared and hungry and she complained that she wanted to go back to her family in France.

In a revealing letter to her mother in June last year, Miss Lionnet admitted she was a "stupid idiot" who was "fooled" by words.

In a final call on August 8, Mrs Devallonne recalled her daughter was crying on the phone and seemed "a bit disoriented".

By then, her employers had stopped paying her £50-a-week wages, beat her, interrogated her, and accused her of stealing a diamond pendant.

Kouider hit her with an electrical cord and either she or Medouni broke five ribs and her breast bone as the violence escalated last September.

Miss Lionnet was in such a state that the defendants refused to allow her out of their two-bedroom flat for the last 12 days of her life. Sophie had a great desire to please, even in adversity and found the "toxic situation wholly outside her experience and ability to manage".

A video made hours before her death showed an emaciated, broken, and terrified young woman, in shocking contrast to earlier smiling photographs.

Although the exact cause of death could not be established, the court was told she died in the bath following water torture.

Neither Kouider or Medouni admitted being responsibility for her injuries, which included a broken jaw.

When her curled up remains were uncovered in a bonfire, firefighters thought it was the body of a child because she was so small and frail.