BRUSSELS: Belgian paedophile Marc Dutroux planned to "kidnap many children" and create an "underground city" in an abandoned mine to imprison them, according to his former lawyer.
Dutroux was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, molesting and imprisoning six girls and murdering four of them, in a case that sparked demonstrations across Belgium and an overhaul of the nation's criminal justice system.
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Julien Pierre, who was Dutroux's lawyer from his arrest in 1996 until 2003, the year before he was sentenced, gave Belgian weekly magazine Soir Mag details of conversations with the convicted murderer.
Dutroux, now 59, reportedly told his lawyer: "Do you realise that no one has ever asked why I chose that house, that region?
"My idea was to carry out mass kidnappings of children and then to create, in a mine shaft, a sort of underground city where good, harmony and security would prevail."
He was arrested in August 1996. Two days later two missing teenage girls, Laetitia Delhez and Sabine Dardenne, were found alive in a hidden cellar in one of his houses in Marcinelle, close to Charleroi in Belgium's south west.
In the following weeks, the bodies of eight-year-old friends Julie and Melissa who had been kidnapped in Liege in June 1995 were found in a basement at one of Dutroux's houses, having died of starvation.
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Following the grim discovery, Belgian authorities subsequently found the bodies of An Marchal, 17, and Efeje Lambrecks, 19, buried in a garden at another of Dutroux's properties.
During his trial, Dardenne explained that her tormentor had adopted an alternative name and insisted that he was protecting her from mysterious "wicked" people, all the while subjecting her to sustained sexual abuse.
He also claimed to Sabine Dardenne that he had kidnapped Laetitia Delhez to "bring her a companion".
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During the kidnapping of Delhez that Dutroux's van was spotted by people in her hometown, which led to his arrest.
Dutroux admitted his crimes and was duly found guilty of the kidnap and sexual abuse of six girls, and the killing of four of them. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.