Killer's ex-wife to swop jail for convent

2012-07-31 20:29
Michelle Martin. (AP)

Michelle Martin. (AP)

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Brussels - The former wife and accomplice of convicted Belgian paedophile killer Marc Dutroux was to leave prison for a convent, a Belgian court ruled on Tuesday.

Michelle Martin was sentenced to 30 years in 2004 for taking part in Dutroux's crimes. He is serving a life sentence for kidnapping, raping and killing several girls as well as a former accomplice.

Judges in Mons said Martin could stay with the Poor Clare Sisters in Malonne, a town outside Namur and about 80km south of Brussels. It is a 30-minute drive from Marcinelle, the town where she and Dutroux used to live.

Martin was banned from having any contact with the families of the victims and barred from moving into convents in the provinces of Liege and Namur.

Judges had thrice turned down her requests for early release, most recently in September. A court agreed last year to let her stay in a French convent, which then backtracked on its offer of hospitality in the face of public outrage.

Dutroux and Martin, who divorced while in prison in 2003, had served previous convictions for the kidnapping and rape of children, when they were again arrested in 1996.

The case shocked Belgium, with public faith in the authorities severely shaken by revelations that the police ignored warnings from Dutroux's mother about her son's crimes and failed to find girls locked in his cellar during a search of his house.

- SAPA
Read more on:    belgium
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