The families of two murdered Belgian girls prepare to bury their children. The funeral of ten year old Nathalie Mahy will be a strictly private affair, expected to be held on Saturday. That of seven year old Stacy Lemmens will be held on Monday.
Their parents are trying to come to terms with the results of autopsies on their daughters which have shown the girls were both strangled and the elder child was raped.
The main prosecutor told a press conference that on examination, numerous lesions and scratches were noted on the bodies. Various scientific tests were currently being undertaken to gather more forensic evidence which would eventually be presented in court. Tests are also be carried out on the man police are holding on suspicion of abduction.
Abdellah Ait Oud was a customer at the cafe near the place where the girls were last seen alive, but he has denied any involvement. His defence lawyer has reminded the media that there must be a presumption of innocence despite the emotions running high across the country.
People have been paying their respects near the crime scene in Liege, the murders have brought back memories of Marc Dutroux – a paedophile who kidnapped and murdered several children in the 1990s. One woman said: “If justice was more harsh I think we’d have less of this sort of thing”. Another was equally concerned over the punishments given out: “Because these people are eventually released rather than getting the death penalty our children aren’t safe to play on the streets”. But mixed with the grief is also anger and questions are being asked why it took the police three weeks to find the girls’ bodies.