Martin release triggers storm in Belgium

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Martin release triggers storm in Belgium

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The people of the Belgian village of Malonne are up in arms at the news that Michelle Martin, the former wife of paedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux, may be arriving in their community on Tuesday.

Martin has served just 10 years of her 30-year sentence, and has been accepted in the village’s convent as part of the conditions for her release.

Many angrily insist Martin did nothing to prevent her husband killing and kidnapping young girls, even when the chance presented itself.

“I’m scared for my children. I have two; eight months old and three, and when I see she’s out I’m afraid she’ll do it again. As she didn’t even serve all her time in prison I don’t think it’s normal to let her out now,” said one local.

Early release is common under Belgian law, but many say this should be an exception.

“You know, after what she did nobody is sure of anything. She had the chance to let two little girls escape and turn herself in when her husband was in jail, but she didn’t. And it was the second time she did something like this,” said another resident.

The convent has been defaced with graffiti saying “no” as locals noted that last year Martin could have been released to a convent in France, but the French refused the request.

The release has revived the memories of the Dutroux affair, the trial, and the paedophilia scandal it uncovered that shocked Belgium at the start of the century.