Francis Heaulme


Francis Heaulme

A.K.A.: "Criminal Backpacker"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - He has Klinefelter's syndrome (a supplemental X chromosome)
Number of victims: 9 +
Date of murders: 1984 - 1992
Date of arrest: January 7, 1992
Date of birth: February 25, 1959
Victims profile: Lyonelle Gineste (17) / Annick Maurice (26) / Ghislaine Ponsard (61) and Georgette Manesse (86) / Joris Viville (10) / Aline Pérès (49) / Sylvie Rossi (30) / Laurence Guillaume (14) / Jean Rémy (65)
Method of murder: Strangulation - Stabbing with knife
Location: France
Status: Sentenced to several life sentences in different trials, 1994-2004

Francis Heaulme (born February 25, 1959 at Metz) is a French serial killer dubbed the "Criminal Backpacker." He has Klinefelter's syndrome (a supplemental X chromosome).


Heaulme's father brutalized him until the age of 17. He became an alcoholic and attempted suicide. However, he had a good relationship with his younger sister and held a boundless adoration of his mother, who died of cancer when he was 23 years old.

At the age of 20, he suddenly picked up a passion for cycling. Eight years later, he left home to travel erratically around France on foot, by hitchhiking, and via train (often without a ticket), staying in Emmaüs shelters, psychiatric institutions, and detoxification centers. He occasionally found odd jobs as a mason or metal worker, and spent his meager earnings on drinking, sometimes mixing alcohol and tranquilizers.

As he suffers from Klinefelter's syndrome, Heaulme is not capable of committing sexual assaults. However, in at least two instances he was accompanied by other men (one a distant cousin), who violated the victim themselves while Heaulme killed them. He confessed the murders to medical personnel who did not reveal the information because false confession are often given to them in France, or because of medical confidentiality. In many police stations, he did in fact recount false assaults.

He was arrested on January 7, 1992 at Bischwiller. The law enforcement agencies (police and gendarmerie) had great difficulty proving their cases because the acts were done without apparent reason or motive by a person who was highly mobile, and had alibis due to negligence. The shortcomings and poor coordination of the police organizations were also contributing factors.

Despite the lack of support from his superiors, gendarme Jean-François Abgrall quickly understood the basic rule about who he is responsible for tracking down: "It's when you ask him nothing that he says the most."

Francis Heaulme recounted murder scenes with incredible precision. For example, he showed officers how to kill a sentry by having a firm grip on the back of his head with one hand and stabbing him in the carotid artery with the other, draw, and then retract. According to Abgrall, "He doesn't lie. He never makes anything up. But he deliberately covers his tracks by mixing the crimes, dates and locations."


The cases in which he is suspected, accused or convicted are many. There are reportedly dozens in 87 departments in France. Among them:

The murder of 8-year-old Jorris Viville in Port-Grimaud. There is no doubt that Heaulme had an accomplice (the body had been moved more than 20 kilometres by car, which Heaulme is incapable of because he suffers from Klinefelter's syndrom). When confronted with five possible suspects at the trial, he successively indicated each as his accomplice, before declaring he didn't want to be a "scapegoat." He alone was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The murder of 44-year-old Aline Peres in Brest, for which he sentenced to 20 years in prison. The crime occurred on a public beach in broad daylight, surrounded by people who saw nothing. This murder put gendarme Abgrall, then assigned to the Brigade de Recherche in Rennes, on his trail. It was this murder for which he was arrested four years later in Bischwiller.

The murder of a retired legionnaire from Courtezon, in Vaucluse, for which he received a dismissal. Although Heaulme had confessed to Abgrall, his presence at the crime scene was never proven. Moreover, his confession seemed completely fanciful, in the light of findings made by the police on the crime scene.

The murder of Laurence Guillaume, a 14-year-old girl, around Metz, for which he was sentenced to life in prison. For this murder, Heaulme was accompanied by the cousin of the victim, whom he had met less than an hour earlier at the fair in Metz. His accomplice was convicted of rape and complicity in the murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The murder of Laurent Bureau, a young military conscript, for which he was acquitted by the Assize Court of Dordogne. During the murder, Heaulme was accompanied by Didier Gentil, who at the time of the trial was already sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of a young girl named Celine in Motte-du-Cairo in 1989. The court, unable to determine which of the two murderers had actually killed Laurent Bureau, acquitted them both.

The Sept. 29, 1986, murder of two children, Cyril Beining and Alexander Beckrich, found dead along the railroad tracks in Montigny-lès-Metz. A man named Patrick Dils was convicted of the crime, and served 15 years in prison before being exonerated in 2002.


In May 1997, for several murders, the Assize Court of Var sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 22 years.

On 16 December 2004, he was sentenced to an additional thirty years in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years for three murders committed in the region of the Marne in 1988 and 1989.


Chief Warrant Officer Gendarmerie, Jean-François Abgrall, the Research Section of the gendarmerie in Rennes, is the specialist for cases in which Francis Heaulme was convicted, accused or suspect. He arrested Heaulme on January 7, 1992 at Bischwiller in Alsace.

Behind the face of a madman hides a manipulative and calculating mind. His morbid game consists of releasing bits of information to police to make it clear that he had "hit a snag", a term he uses to describe his murders. This occurred in each new case, and is evident throughout the course of his dialogs.

According to one of his successive string of lawyers, Gonzalez de Pierre Gaspard, Heaulme is not to be confronted with an authority, whether a policeman, a police officer or a judge, because he feels like they can make him say whatever they want.


Jean-François Abgrall wrote Inside the Mind of a Killer, published by Profile Books Ltd, in which he recounts, step-by-step, his investigation of Heaulme, the so-called "Criminal Backpacker."

The television channel TF1 introduced in March 2005 a television drama with Thierry Frémont in the role of Heaulme and Bernard Giraudeau in the role of policeman Abgrall.

The channel aired a 90-minute documentary titled "The Bloody Road - On the Trail of Francis Heaulme," on November 13, 2005. The documentary was produced by Doc en Stock, and directed by Laurent Guerin and Franck Doors, and retraced his route step by step.

A 70 minute BBC documentary in which Jean-François Abgrall recounted his investigation of Heaulme, titled "Dance with a Serial Killer", was aired on BBC 1 24 February 2008.

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme was born on February 25, 1959 in Metz. It grew in the "radiant city" of the Corbusier district in Briey. He has a sister, Christine, 6 years her junior, they are very close. His/her mother, Nicole Houillon, meet at 18 years her father, Marcel Heaulme, an industrial electrician.

Marcel Heaulme is rejected by the Houillon family, which calls it the "boche" because of her Germanic accent. His/her father thinks only of the money, the women, alcohol, the horse-races and the play. Nicole Heaulme is regularly beaten, as the remainder of the family, but especially Francis, until the 17 years age. The father of Francis Heaulme generally lowers his son that it can it, by treating it of "Bastard", of "insane", of "delayed" (because of its silhouette, Francis heaulme suffers from the syndrome of Klinefeter, this genetic anomaly implies a sex of reduced size, a sexuality deadened near to the impotence and tendency to femininity, it will learn it only into 1994.).

His/her father, regularly, locks up it in the cellar, suspended with a hook, the wrists blocked by wire, because it did not bring back its alcohol bottle to him. Its schooling is a true failure. Already very young person it gashes the arms, the legs and the chest with pieces of broken bottle. His/her sister reports that he said "Instead of making evil with somebody, I prefer to have evil with me...". What does not prevent it from burying alive animals. At 20 years, Nicole, her sister, the registered voter in a club of bicycle touring, it is the thunderbolt and the bicycle becomes its passion. In 1982, the cancer of his/her mother is declared. October 16, 1984, his/her mother dies, Francis is killed by sorrow (it adored his mother).

The same day of the death of his/her mother, "small Grégory" disappears, Francis Heaulme greedily collects all the articles of press reporting the death of the little boy. At the time of the burial of his mother, it is necessary to tear off Francis of the coffin of his mother. It said later "I lay down on his coffin in the hole. I wanted to leave with it... ". A little later it tries several times to commit suicide, its family (especially her father) said "it makes her circus". His/her father finds a new partner and his/her sister flees the family Heaulme, it Marie.

Given up Francis, share in hitch-hiking through France, it crosses more than 37 departments. It becomes alcoholic. Fabulator, it goes in gendarmeries for imaginary aggressions and crimes. The psychiatric internments follow one another, of the doctors diagnoses it "psychopathe". In 1991, in Alsace, it meets Georgette, 5 years her elder, and lives with her. She succeeds in making it detoxicate itself. But... Its murders: Francis Heaulme was put in examination or simply suspecté in more than 20 homicides. In here are some: - on September 5, 1984; Lyonnelle Gineste, 17 years, apprentie pâtissière. Is killed by Francis Heaulme and its accomplice Jose Molins.

The body of Lyonnelle Gineste is found naked in the forest of Puvenelle. It was strangled and cut the throat of. Heaulme is condemned on November 28, 1999 to 30 years of criminal reclusion and Jose Molins (denounced by Francis Heaulme in 1996), is condemned to him to 10 years of criminal reclusion for complicity of murder. - on May 8, 1986; Laurent Office, 19 years, called quota in permission. Return from the weekend spent in his/her parents. It goes to the gymnasium of Bertrand de Born Perigueux, where it wanted to attend a sporting competition (which was cancelled). It crosses there 5 or 6 marginal drinking. In the medium of the violent disputes, there is Francis Heaulme and Didier Gentil (assassin and rapist of the small Celine Jourdan).

Didier Gentil challenges Laurent Bureau for a history of debt (it knows itself within the framework of the army) a violent argument takes place between them two, of only one Laurent blow finds floor and receives blows of the marginal ones. Nice and Heaulme take along of Laurent force in the gymnasium, they attach the hands in the back to him. They oblige it to make fellatios, while striking it. It is violated, strangled and they crash to pieces to him cranium with blow of extinguisher. Francis Heaulme is accused in December 1992 and Didier Gentil on April 1, 1997 (it will be discharged fault of evidence...) - On May 7, 1991; Francis Heaulme makes the knowledge of Michel Guillaume, 19 years, and of his/her cousin Laurence Guillaume, 14 years.

After a rock festival, Heaulme and Michel follow Laurence (who is in auto-cycle) with the car of Michel. They reverse it, put it in the car and meadows of the small village of Rugy take along it. Whereas Michel Guillaume strips Laurence, with the intention to rape his/her cousin, Francis Heaulme the "spade" with the neck with its opinel to hold it in respect. The following day a little boy of Rugy, discovers the body of Laurence Guillaume stripped. Francis Heaulme is condemned in September 1995 to the criminal reclusion to perpetuity, together with 18 years of safety Well of other victims are to be regretted; Georgette Manesse and Ghislaine Ponsard, Jean Rémy, Jean-Baptist Clement, Joris Viville, Aline Peres, Sylvie Rossi, Annick Maurice... excuse me if it misses some, write to me to cure it.

Is Francis Heaulme a mental patient? According to justice, not. It is said psychotic, but its plays of track with the famous gendarme Jean-François Abgrall are complex. As well as the handling of its accomplices.

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Francis Heaulme

Jean François Abragal