Belgian child killer’s wife seeks Italy refuge

The former wife of Belgium's notorious serial child killer and paedophile Marc Dutroux is seeking refuge with a religious community on the outskirts of Florence, press reports said on Thursday.

Belgian child killer's wife seeks Italy refuge
Michelle Martin helped her husband keep six girls captive and was complicit in the deaths of two of them. Photo: Pool/AFP

Michelle Martin was freed on parole in 2012 after 16 years in prison on condition that she move into a Belgian convent near the central city of Namur, but the nuns are now moving to Brussels and do not want her to come with them.

Martin – whose move into the convent provoked widespread outrage – has asked the authorities for permission to seek refuge elsewhere, the reports said.

Regional media group Sudpresse said Martin was cleared on January 2nd to go to Italy for a week, hoping to find a welcome in the Cristo e La Riposta community in the small village of Bagno a Ripoli just outside Florence.

"We do not know when she will come," Sudpresse cited Canadian pasteur Paul Schafer at the centre as saying.

"At this point, we have not discussed a permanent residency with us. First of all, there will be a stay of five to seven days so that she can reflect and rest," Schafer said.

"A Belgian evangelical group told me [of her case] and I responded favourably," he said. 

"We know that she is in the eye of the media in Belgium and we are ready to offer her a spiritual retreat in our group, nothing more," he added.

Dutroux was jailed for life in 2004 for the kidnap and rape between 1995 and 1996 of six girls, and the murder of four of his victims, in one of the darkest episodes in Belgium's criminal history.

Martin, a former schoolteacher who was detained in 1996, was sentenced too in 2004 for helping him hold the girls captive and for complicity in the deaths of two who were found starved to death in a locked cellar.

Martin married Dutroux in 1983 and had three children with him before they divorced in 2003.

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World record nun dies after 86 years in convent

A 105-year-old Spanish nun has died after spending 86 years in a convent, a period of ecclesiastical retreat touted by the Spanish media as a world record.

World record nun dies after 86 years in convent
Sister Teresita, from the Basque Country in northern Spain, died on Tuesday night. Photo: YouTube

Sister Teresita, from the Basque Country in northern Spain, died on Tuesday night at the Roman Catholic convent Buenafuente del Sistal in the center of the country.

She was buried at the convent on Wednesday.

Sister Teresita had entered the convent in the municipality of Guadalajara on April 16, 1927, when she was 19.

She left the convent only once in the following 86 years, on August 20, 2011, during Roman Catholic youth celebrations, to meet with visiting Pope Benedict XVI, who was born on the same day she had joined the convent.

That meeting, held at the Vatican’s nunciature in Madrid, was “very short but very emotional,” the convent’s abbess, Sister Maria, told AFP.

During her long stay in the convent, Sister Teresita held posts of abbess, prioress and mistress of novices.

“She was very lucid and healthy but she got weaker because age does not forgive,” said the abbess.

Sister Teresita lived “an exemplary life,” she added.