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Accomplice of child killer Dutroux released from prison
Michel Lelièvre, an accomplice of Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux, has been released from prison. Lelièvre will serve the final two years of his 25-year sentence outside of the prison.
Lelièvre was sentenced in 2004 for his part in the kidnapping of four girls between 1995 and 1996. Dutroux eventually killed the older girls, aged 17 and 18, while the two younger girls, aged 12 and 14, were rescued by police in 1996 after Dutroux was arrested.
Dutroux is Belgium’s most notorious prisoner, having been sentenced in 2004 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of six girls, aged between eight and 19. His crimes are famously grisly, including creating video tapes of his crimes, locking girls in a dungeon room in his basement in Charleroi and allowing two of them to starve to death while he was in custody.
Lelièvre may serve out the final two years of his sentence outside of prison under several conditions. He must check in regularly with a parole officer, avoid alcohol and drugs, look for work or follow a training course, pay retribution to the victims’ families, and he may have no contact with the families.
To prevent any contact, he may not live in the provinces of Flemish Brabant, Limburg, Hainaut, Liège or Luxembourg. He must also stay away from Ixelles and certain other streets in Brussels. According to the newspaper La Capitale, Lelièvre is in fact living in Brussels.
Only Dutroux still in prison
Dutroux’s former wife, Michelle Martin, was also an accomplice to the murders but was released from prison in 2011. A third accomplice was murdered by Dutroux before Dutroux’s arrest in 1996.
The Dutroux case is infamous far beyond the actual fact of his crimes, not least of all because he had been sentenced to 13 years in 1989 for the kidnap and rape of young girls and was released after serving only three-and-a-half years.
Once he began reoffending, police and political corruption riddled the case, as did a terrifically botched investigation. Police routinely ignored warnings from people around Dutroux, including a locksmith who heard children screaming in the house and Dutroux’s own mother.
During one search of Dutroux’s house when he was in custody, police found video tapes, which they never watched. Had they done so, they would have seen him constructing the dungeon that held two victims at that exact moment. The victims eventually died of dehydration.
Police have further been accused of not following up on leads and not testing DNA. In 1998, Dutroux managed a dramatic escape when police accompanied him to review his files. He was recaptured a few hours later.
Dutroux was part of criminal gangs and prostitution rings that many believed reached into police and political circles. According to witnesses at Dutroux’s trial, prosecutors were being threatened by crime syndicates.
Paul Marchal, father of An Marchal, who was murdered by Dutroux, told Radio 2 today that he and his family saw Lelièvre’s release coming. “Michèle Martin got 30 years and was walking around free seven years ago after serving 23 years. I have to ask myself, if people like this can get early release, who is actually sitting out their sentences in this country?”
Photo: Michel Lelièvre on his way to a parole hearing in 2013. He was denied early release at the time
THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON 3 DECEMBER WITH MICHEL LELIEVRE'S CITY OF RESIDENCE