Search for girl's body in child sex inquiry

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the beating to death of a Belgian girl two years ago, allegedly by a paedophile ring, were searching for her body in Boulogne, northern France, yesterday.

Police investigating the beating to death of a Belgian girl two years ago, allegedly by a paedophile ring, were searching for her body in Boulogne, northern France, yesterday.

The search is part of an inquiry into a suspected child sex gang in France and Belgium. The case has caused consternation, particularly in Belgium, still shocked by the case of Marc Dutroux, a convicted child rapist awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping, raping and murdering children in 1996 as part of a paedophile ring.

The search of a garden of a house in Outreau in the Pas de Calais followed allegations made to a magistrate and a TV station by a man arrested as part of the wider inquiry.

Daniel Legrand said he had seen a six-year-old Belgian girl of North African origin raped and then beaten to death by two men at another house in Outreau at the end of 1999.

His information has been corroborated in part by a woman who is accused of "hiring" her children to the ring. Her husband is suspected of the rape and murder of the girl.

* The former prefect of Corsica, Bernard Bonnet, was jailed for a year yesterday for ordering a team of gendarmes to burn down an illegal restaurant in 1999 and blame Corsican nationalists.

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