Accused rapist says police were involved

March 4, 2004 at 9:46 AM

ARLON, Belgium, March 4 (UPI) -- A Belgian man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing young girls claims police officers were part of his pedophile ring.

Marc Dutroux. 47, also laid blame on his estranged wife for the gruesome deaths of four girls abducted, drugged, abused and held captive at his home.

Although Dutroux did not enter a formal plea, he testified for 150 minutes from behind bullet-proof glass he had abducted four girls and admitted to having sex with three of them, but he denied murder, The Independent reported Thursday.

Dutroux was seated next to his co-defendants, Michelle Martin, his estranged second wife, Michel Lelievre, a drifter, and Michel Nihoul, a businessman and police informant.

In his testimony, Dutroux said two unnamed policemen and Lelievre helped abduct An Marchal, aged 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, aged 19, near Ostende. On the instructions of Nihoul, he said, the girls were drugged, raped and taken to Dutroux's home in Marcinelle.

In December 1995, Dutroux was jailed for abandoning two 8-year-old girls to starve in their basement cell. Dutroux said the school friends were dead when he emerged from prison four months later.

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