Belgian serial child killer Marc Dutroux's ex-wife and accomplice to live in judge's home

BRUSSELS (AFP) - A former Belgian judge said Tuesday he will risk controversy and rent out part of his home to the former wife and accomplice of Belgium's notorious serial child killer Marc Dutroux.

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

She was a schoolteacher when detained in 1996, and was sentenced in 2004 for complicity in the deaths of the two eight-year-olds who were found starved to death in a locked cellar.

Martin did not feed two little girls Dutroux left in a dungeon by Dutroux while he served an unrelated jail term.

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

Despite the possibility of a new controversy, the former judge in Namur, Christian Panier, told RTBF television that he wants to give Martin a chance at rehabilitation.

"I have enough room. And at the risk of displeasing people, I want to do it," Panier told the broadcaster.

After having planned to live in a convent in France and then a religious community in Italy before she was turned down, Martin will move soon to Panier's home in Floreffe, near where she currently lives in the convent in Malonne, also in central Belgium.

"The move is well advanced. Ms Martin will soon live there definitively... with the agreement of the judicial authorities, of course," said Panier.

"After 30 years in the legal system, and after having sent many people to prison, sometimes for long stretches, I believe that rehabilitation is what makes the difference between revenge justice and civilised justice," he said.

"There is a glimmer of humanity in the deepest recesses of the heart of someone who can sometimes have done the worst," he added.

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

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.