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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Dutroux and the network
The arrest of Dutroux
Dutroux's was the first of the arrests
Dutroux's wife Michel Martin, admitted to the police that in 1995, she knew two small girls were incarcerated in a secret dungeon in the cellar of their Charleroi home.

She claimed she had gone to the house, while Dutroux was in jail on car-theft charges, to feed their dogs. She said she was too frightened to go to the cellar and feed the two girls, even though she knew they were there without food or water.

In 1996, Dutroux lead police to the emaciated bodies of Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, buried in the garden of another of Dutroux's homes.

Diggers
Dutroux's garden hid the bodies of Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo
The two 8-year-old girls had been missing in Belgium since their kidnap more than a year before.

A third accomplice, Michel Lelievre, a drug addict and petty thief, told police soon after his arrest that the girls were kidnapped to order, for someone else.

The investigating judge suspected Jean Michel Nihoul, a Brussels businessman and nightclub owner, was the brains behind the operation. Nihoul was arrested.

But Lelievre suddenly stopped co-operating. He was with Dutroux and Nihoul, in prison where they all mixed freely in the exercise yard.

He told police he'd been threatened and couldn't risk saying any more.

Jean Michel Nihoul - The 'Monster of Belgium'
Nihoul expects never to come to court again
The monster of Belgium

"I am the monster of Belgium" Nihoul says, and he expects never to come to court - as the information he claims he has about important people in Belgium would bring the Government and the entire state down.

A life of crime

Dutroux, as well as being known to be a paedophile was also a petty criminal. He and his associates became steeped in stolen car trafficking in and around Charleroi, the crime capital of Belgium.

Evidence shows that, for Dutroux, car crime and the child abductions were linked. The car in which Julie and Melissa were abducted has never been found.

Investigators believe Dutroux and Nihoul were planning a long distance prostitution trafficking network involving cars and the import of girls from Slovakia.

Despite the connections, Anne Thilly, the Prosecutor General, decided it was all too much for a jury to take in, so the car crime was separated from the kidnappings and considered quite independently by different police authorities in different parts of the country.

In this way, links between the car crimes and the kidnappings would be lost or obscured.

Dutroux's infamous cellar
A hidden chamber of horror
Bruno Tagliaferro, a Charleroi scrap metal merchant who knew Dutroux, claimed to know something about the car in which Julie and Melissa were kidnapped.

But he was soon found dead, apparently of a heart attack.

His wife Fabienne Jaupart, refused to accept the verdict and arranged for his body to be exhumed. Samples sent to the USA for analysis showed he'd been poisoned.

Soon after, her teenage son found her dead at home in her bed, her mattress smouldering.

Publicly it was declared suicide, or an accident. There have been 20 such unexplained deaths connected with Dutroux.

Read more:



Belgium's X-Files:
an Olenka Frenkiel investigation
Sunday 5th May 2002 on BBC Two at 1915 BST

Reporter: Olenka Frenkiel
Producer: Michael Simkin
Series Producer: Simon Finch
Editor: Fiona Murch

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The X Files
The shocking horror is revealed
  The X Files
The conditions of Melissa's incarceration
  The X Files
The judge is sacked
  The X Files
Police files shown to be fundamentally flawed by investigative journalists
Belgium's X Files

Paedophile scandal

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