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Saturday, 10 January, 1998, 18:34 GMT
Belgian paedophile's namesakes change surnames

Over a third of Belgian citizens who have the same surname as the convicted paedophile Marc Dutroux have applied to have their names changed, France Info radio reported on Saturday, quoting the Belgian daily paper `La Derniere Heure'.

Of the 62 Belgians who were called Dutroux in the summer of 1996 - when the scandal broke out and Marc Dutroux was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of young girls between July 1995 and August 1996 - 22 have applied for a name change, the radio said.

Since 1996, 16 people called Dutroux have been granted the right to have another surname, while the applications of another six are expected to be successful.

Belgian law allows people to change their names for a ` valid reason', such as when it is ridiculous or has become infamous.

The former Dutrouxs had to pay 2,000 Belgian francs (just over 30 pounds sterling) for the right to change their names.

Marc Dutroux himself applied to change his name in 1995.

He wanted to be known as Marc Dinroux, but his application was turned down, the radio said.

None of the 624 people who have the same surname as the suspected Dutroux accomplice, Michel Nioul, has applied to change their name, although being the namesake of Nioul can also cause problems.

The patissier Edouard Nioul, who used to have a business on the chic Avenue Louise in Brussels, has had to close shop.

"His cakes were no longer popular," France Info said.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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