Michel Fourniret (1 Viewer)


Michel Fourniret & Monique Oliver

A.K.A.: "The Ogre of the Ardennes"

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Kidnapping - Rape
Number of victims: 10 +
Date of murders: 1987 - 2001
Date of arrest: June 2003
Date of birth: April 4, 1942
Victims profile: An unidentified man / Isabelle Laville, 17 / Fabienne Leroy, 20 / Jeanne-Marie Desramault, 22 / Elisabeth Brichet, 12 / Natacha Danais, 13 / Farida Hellegouarch / Céline Saison, 18 / Manyana Thumpong, 18 / A 16-year old girl
Method of murder: Strangulation
Location: France / Belgium
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on May 28, 2008

Michel Fourniret (born Sedan, 4 April 1942) is a French serial killer who confessed, in June and July 2004, to kidnapping, raping and murdering 9 girls in the span of 14 years during the 1980s and the 1990s. He is also suspected of 10 additional murders, 9 in France and 1 in Belgium.

His wife, Monique Olivier, denounced him just after Marc Dutroux's ex-wife Michelle Martin was sentenced to 30 years in prison during Dutroux's trial. Fourniret has been charged with the abduction of minors and sexual misconduct, and has been in detention since June 2003 for the attempted kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl in 2000.

Fourniret buried at least two of his victims at his Sautou chateau in the late 1980s. On 3 July 2004, a team of French and Belgian police recovered the bodies of two of Fourniret's victims near the castle.

He might have had some links with the once famous French Action Directe gang.

Confessed murders

Isabelle Laville - a 17-year old French girl. She disappeared in Auxerre, France, on her way from school to home.

Fabienne Leroy - a 20-year old girl. She disappeared in 1988 in Mourmelon, and her body was later found in the nearby woods.

Jeanne-Marie Desramault - a 22-year old French student. She disappeared in 1989 from the railway station of Charleville-Méziere, and her body was recovered from the estate of Fourniret with his assistance.

Elisabeth Brichet - a 12-year-old Belgian girl. She disappeared from Namur in 1989 after playing with a friend. This case has been long thought to be linked to the Dutroux case. Fourniret led police to her burial site on his estate in France.

Natacha Danais - a 13-year old French girl, disappeared in 1990.

Farida Hellegouarch - the girlfriend of one of the leaders of Action Directe, a former cellmate of Fourniret's. Fourniret killed her in 1990 to access the group's funds. He bought his castle in France with the money.

Céline Saison - 18-year old who disappeared in 2000 in Sedan, and her body was found in Belgium.

Manyana Thumpong - 18-year old who disappeared in 2001 from Charleville-Méziere. Her body was also later found in Belgium.

An unidentified man - Fourniret killed this man in a robbery for some quick cash.

Fourniret's wife has also said that Fourniret killed a 16-year old girl who had worked as a au pair at their house. Fourniret allegedly killed her in 1993, but has not confessed. Her identity has not discovered.

Other crimes?

Fourniret himself says he did not commit any crimes between 1990 and 2000. Police in at least five countries (France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark) have taken a fresh look at old rapes, disappearances and murders, however. In Denmark, police noticed that a police sketch of a rape suspect looked a lot like Fourniret. In the Netherlands, investigators in the disappearances of Tanja Groen and Nicky Verstappen have investigated Fourniret.

In 2006 rumors started that Fourniret might have been the real suspect in the case Christian Ranucci. 22 year old Ranucci was beheaded in France with the guillotine on 28 July 1976 under the suspicion that he killed an eight year old girl; Marie-Dolores Rambla. The case has always been controversial:

New evidence showed that Fourniret was taking a holiday in Marseille coincidentally at the same time and place the girl was murdered. On 3 June 1974 Marie-Dolores Rambla and her brother Jean met a man in a car who claimed he was searching for his dog. Marie-Dolores joined the gentleman in his car and was kidnapped. Over an hour after this disapperarance the car of the kidnapper is involved in a car accident with a certain Martinez and the kidnapper drives away. Followed by an elder couple he is seen carrying a big packet. Witnesses report his appearance to the police who immediately concludes there is a connection between the kidnapping and the fleeing driver. Extensive research finds the body of Marie-Dolores Rambla in some bushes where she has been stabbed to death. Ranucci is arrested under the suspicion the car accident he was involved in and the vision of him with the packet had something to do with Rambla's kidnapping and death. They discovered some pants with dried bloodstains in his car who have the same blood type as Rambla.

Ranucci confessed he killed the girl and told the police where the knife was hidden (the bushes).

What made this confession so strange was the fact Ranucci only confessed things who were exactly the facts the police discovered those first 48 hours. Ranucci denied being the murderer, a day afterwards. It has been suggested that Ranucci's file has been altered and the evidence objects were hidden to match his "confession". The bloodstains on his pants were much older than the murder and happened due to a fall of his motorcycle. Ranucci had the same blood type as Rambla. The elder couple claimed they saw the girl on the back of Ranucci's car and heard her screaming. What made this claim a bit dubious was the fact the couple didn't leave their car and Ranucci's car door was broken on the side they claimed, he opened to snatch the girl out of the car. A red sweater who had been found on the place of the murder didn't belong to Ranucci as further research pointed out.

Later five people tell the police they saw the kidnapping and all of them point out a different person than Ranucci.

The big media fuss about the case made Ranucci guilty before his case was even brought to the court. He received the death penalty. What makes Fourniret so much more suspicious in the case is the fact he went on a holiday in Marseille in June 1974, drove a car with the same color (grey), was 32 years old and in comparison with Ranucci had a police file with criminal sexual deeds. Fourniret used many tricks, comparable with the lie about the lost dog. Also, Rambla showed no signs of being sexually molested. Fourniret often ejaculated too soon in front of his victims and then his anger towards them cooled.

Life sentence for French killer

Thursday, 29 May 2008

A 66-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison by a French court for murdering seven girls and young women.

Michel Fourniret, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes", had admitted kidnapping and killing his victims between 1987 and 2001.

It is one of France's biggest serial killing cases in decades.

The court in Charleville-Mezieres also gave his wife Monique Olivier a life sentence for complicity. She helped trap the victims.

Olivier, 59, must serve at least 28 years of her prison term, the court said.

The seven victims - most of whom were raped - were aged between 12 and 22. They were shot, strangled, or stabbed to death.

Most were killed in the Ardennes region of northern France and in Belgium.

Fourniret would spot a potential victim while driving and stop to ask for directions, then persuade them to get into his car.

His wife's presence in the vehicle was designed to help reassure the victim, according to the prosecution.

Fourniret was arrested in Belgium in 2003 after an attempt to kidnap a 13-year-old girl, who managed to run away.

Correspondents say the court proceedings failed to unlock Fourniret's personality and motives.

Although he admitted the murders, he refused to co-operate further during the two-month trial.

Marie-Jeanne Laville, the mother of 17-year-old Isabelle who was raped and killed in 1987, told AFP news agency she was "very satisfied" with the verdict.

"I can breathe again," she said.

Fourniret - who in court described himself as "an extremely dangerous individual" - said he would not appeal against his sentence.

He is suspected of kidnapping, raping and murdering British teaching assistant Joanna Parrish, 20, in 1990 while she was working in the French town of Auxerre.

He is also being investigated over the kidnap and murder of Marie-Angele Domece, a 19-year-old disabled woman from France.

He denies involvement in either woman's death.

But Roger Parrish and Pauline Sewell, Joanna Parrish's parents, issued a statement after the verdict was announced.

"This is not the final chapter in our quest for justice for Joanna; we must wait to see if Fourniret is to be charged in connection with her death," they said.

French 'virgin-hunter' Michel Fourniret refuses to speak at trial

March 28, 2008

The couple resembled ordinary French pensioners, he with his arms folded in a professorial pose, she sucking in her cheeks like a watchful grandmother. Behind the façade, however, lay a cold-blooded sexual predator who raped and killed victims with the help of his wife and accomplice, a court was told yesterday.

As Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier sat in a glass-fronted dock on the opening day of their trial, jurors were told chilling details of the grey-haired couple alleged to be among the most horrific criminals in the history of France. Using an image of happily-married respectability, Olivier would gain the confidence of the girls and women they had identified as prey.

After they had been bound, gagged and sometimes drugged by her husband, she would examine them to check they were the virgins he desired.

She would then hand them over to Fourniret “in the sole aim of allowing him to fulfil his fantasies”, according to a report read out in the court in Charleville-Mézières, in the Franco-Belgian border region where they once lived. He would assault his victims — “beautiful little subjects” was how he referred to them — before shooting or strangling them, the report by investigating magistrates said.

One, a “serious, prudent and intelligent” 20-year-old student, had air injected into her veins to provoke a heart attack, the magistrates said.

Fourniret, 65, is on trial charged with the murder of seven girls and women aged between 12 and 21 in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001. He has confessed to the crimes.

Olivier, 59, who is charged with one count of murder and complicity in four other killings, has admitted helping her husband but has sought to minimise her role with a claim that she was in his psychological grip.

The couple are suspected of a series of other crimes likely to be the subject of a subsequent hearing. These include the murder of Joanna Parrish, a 20-year-old British student found dead in Burgundy in 1990.

Yesterday Fourniret fuelled his reputation as a manipulator as he sought to dominate proceedings with a bizarre performance. He claimed his right to privacy under French law to prevent media from taking his photograph, a customary practice in high-profile trials in France. He listened impassively to a list of crimes with which he is charged.

Asked to confirm his identity, he held up a note written in capital letters that said: “Lips sealed if not in closed session.” His request for the press and public to be excluded along with photographers was dismissed by Judge Gilles Lapatie.

Fourniret responded by handing the judge a second handwritten note, this one rolled up and bound like a medieval scroll. “This is the account of my acts which I intended to read,” the defendant said, breaking the vow of silence that he had made minutes earlier. “But I cannot talk if the court is not in camera. I ask for your permission for you to read it out yourself.”

A lawyer at the court said later that in the note Fourniret described himself as “a bad being and devoid of all human sentiment” and that his wife was “an object that my lack of morals constantly manipulated through a perverse game”. Olivier was more co-operative, confirming her identity before her childhood stammer reappeared as she tried to remember the names of her lawyers.

Her lawyers say that she is hoping for a lenient sentence, unlike her husband, who is resigned to life imprisonment, according to legal sources.

But the report of the investigating magistrates said that when Fourniret set in motion their first crime in 1987, asking her to “get him a virgin”, she knew the end could only be fatal. The remains of the victim, Isabelle Laville, 17, were found almost two decades later in a gravel-filled well.

The court was also told how the couple were caught in 2003 when a 13-year-old Belgian girl bit through the rope with which they had tied her wrists and jumped out of their van.

Wife lured virgins for ‘Ogre of the Ardennes’ serial killer

March 23, 2008

One of France’s most prolific serial killers goes on trial this week, but the spotlight will be on his wife after revelations that she made a “diabolical pact” to help him murder young women.

The court will hear evidence of how Monique Olivier, 59, helped Michel Fourniret, the so-called “Ogre of the Ardennes”, to lure young women into a van so that he could kidnap and rape them.

A well spoken, bespectacled figure with a love of Russian literature, Fourniret, 65, is being tried for the murders of seven young women. His wife is charged with one murder and as an accomplice in six others: she has told police that she witnessed various rapes and murders and has admitted to gagging one girl to silence her screams.

France has been sickened by the case, particularly Olivier’s suggestions that the couple’s 20-year-old son Sélim witnessed rapes and murders when he was young. He will testify during the trial, as will Fourniret’s first two wives.

Investigators believe that in addition to the seven murders the couple have acknowledged, Fourniret may have killed several other women, including Joanna Parrish, a British student teacher whose body was found in a river in 1990, and three of his son’s babysitters.

Fourniret denies killing Parrish, but Olivier has described the murder in Burgundy of a young woman bearing a resemblance to Parrish. She met her killer after placing an advertisement for English language teaching and babysitting in a magazine. Fourniret often consulted advertisements for babysitters. He will be investigated for her murder after the trial.

In her chilling confession to police, Olivier, who speaks with a stammer, has described a “habitual scenario” of driving around in the countryside, “hunting for virgins”. She acted as a decoy to gain the confidence of the victims.

Fourniret would sometimes ask her to examine girls before raping them to make sure that they were virgins.

The couple met when Fourniret advertised for a pen pal after being imprisoned in 1984 for sexual assaults in the Paris region.

They began a long correspondence and she fell under his sway, lovingly addressing him as “my beast” or as “Shere Khan”, after the tiger in Kipling’s Jungle Book. He called her “Natouchka”.

According to The Pact of the Fournirets, a book by two journalists that appeared last week, Fourniret offered to help Olivier, a former care worker, to get even with two exhusbands, whom she claimed had abused her, as soon as he got out of prison. In exchange she agreed to help him find virgins, or what Fourniret referred to as “membranes on legs”.

When he was freed in 1987, Olivier was waiting in her green Peugeot estate. Fourniret never kept his part of the bargain by killing her former husbands. Less than two months after his release, however, Olivier made what she described as her first offering to her “beast”.

Isabelle Laville was a timid 17-year-old who was undergoing psychotherapy. Olivier said she had selected her because she looked like a younger version of herself: her husband wanted to imagine that he was deflowering Olivier.

When the car drew up alongside Laville, Olivier asked for directions. She persuaded the girl to get in and direct her.

Waiting down the road with a jerry can was Fourniret, posing as a motorist who had broken down and needed a lift. Olivier stopped the car and let him in.

As they drove off, Fourniret, sitting in the back, put a rope around Laville’s neck and told her she was his prisoner. The girl was given an overdose of sleeping pills on the way back to the couple’s home.

When they got there, Olivier had sex with Fourniret when he found that he was unable to rape the victim. Fourniret then strangled Laville. In 2006 he led police to her remains in a disused well.

Olivier said that she had not known Fourniret was going to kill Laville. Whatever the case, the murder seems only to have cemented their relationship.

In 1988, a heavily pregnant Olivier approached Fabienne Leroy, a 20-year-old student, telling her that she urgently needed to get to a doctor.

Leroy got into the car. This time Fourniret was driving.

He drove to a field and pulled Leroy out of the car at gunpoint. He raped and shot her after Olivier had subjected her to an intimate examination. Leroy’s body was found in the field the next day. Several more murders followed the same pattern.

Fourniret’s mother had once worked as a servant in a chateau and psychologists believe that this was one of the reasons he bought a chateau in the Ardennes with funds stolen from one of his former prison cellmates.

The couple lived in one sparsely furnished corner of the vast property. Fourniret buried some of the bodies in the grounds.

In one case the couple were believed to have used little Sélim as bait, telling their victim that they were looking for a doctor for their child. On other occasions they left the child with a babysitter when going off on “virgin-hunting” weekends.

Even if Olivier did not always accompany Fourniret on his expeditions, he made a point of telling her about his adventures when he got home. “I went hunting,” was how he would put it, or, “I obtained satisfaction.”

In 2003, however, Fourniret slipped up. A 13-year-old girl whom he had kidnapped in Belgium managed to escape from his van when he stopped at a petrol station.

She was rescued by a passing motorist who took down Fourniret’s registration number. He was arrested. Several human hairs were found in the van, one of them belonging to Mananya Thumpong, 13, whose remains had been found in a forest in 2001.

When Olivier decided to talk, Fourniret soon went back on his denials. He led police to various bodies, conducting excavations in the grounds of his chateau in a bulletproof jacket.

The trial is expected to last up to two months, after which Fourniret, if found guilty, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. And France expects no less a prison sentence for his “ogress”.

Mother, wife and monster

June 17, 2007

A French housewife helped her husband in a 20-year orgy of kidnap, rape, torture and murder. She admits this British student was among their victims. Why haven’t they been charged for her murder?

Early afternoon, February 14, 2005. Monique Olivier sat bowed, as if helpless, in the interrogation room of police headquarters in the town of Dinant, southern Belgium. The plump and dowdy 56-year-old adopted the pose for hours, refusing food and drinks.

Surrounding her were two French detectives and a provincial public prosecutor. They had crossed the nearby border early that Valentine’s Day morning to question her, hoping she would add to the list of abductions, rapes and murders across France to which she and her husband, Michel Fourniret, had already confessed.

While the winter afternoon darkened, her inquisitors lost patience with Olivier’s continuing silence; voices were raised, tempers frayed. Olivier later claimed the prosecutor, Francis Nachbar, slapped her, and that one of the detectives elbowed her in the chest. Belgian officials dismissed the incident as nothing more than some “mild shoving” and a later inquiry cleared both men of misconduct. Whatever happened, Olivier offered further revelations, her first in seven months. She began with the 1988 murder of a girl she did not name close to the Burgundy village in which she and her husband once lived. She described the victim, how Fourniret had stalked her for weeks, how she had helped him lull the girl into their car, and how he alone disposed of the body at night.

Her account appeared to match the disappearance in 1988 of 19-year-old Marie-Angèle Domece. It was not until Monique began her second confession of the day – relating to another killing in Burgundy, this time in 1990 – that Nachbar knew he had won the day. “I would like to tell you about another case, one that you do not know about, and which ended with the death of a young girl,” she began. With every word then uttered, the investigators heard her reveal the mystery of who raped and strangled the 20-year-old British student teacher Joanna Parrish. It was a coup for the French team; it seemed they had cracked one of the longest-running murder cases still open in France, an investigation so badly bungled it had become a diplomatic embarrassment for the French authorities. It was even the object of an internal justice-ministry inquiry into a possible cover-up. Joanna had disappeared from the centre of the ancient town of Auxerre during the early evening of May 16, 1990. Her naked body was found the next morning, floating in a river five miles from the town.

No witnesses to the crime were ever found, and the only indication of what she endured came as a result of a postmortem. Monique Olivier’s account of the injuries inflicted on a victim she again did not name was matched by the unpublished conclusions of the postmortem report. She told of how they had abducted their victim in Auxerre during the evening rush hour, a tactic Fourniret favoured because of the anonymity it afforded; how she herself drove their van out towards an isolated spot in nearby countryside while her husband beat their captive “until she spoke no more” and how, when it was all over, he finally disposed of the undressed corpse “in a watercourse” nearby. Confronted with his wife’s statement the next day, Fourniret denied murdering either Joanna or Marie-Angèle. But he had previously denied committing other murders detailed by Olivier before finally admitting them. An upbeat Nachbar travelled the 40 miles back to France and called a press conference to announce the important “credibility” of Olivier’s “very detailed” account of the murder of Joanna Parrish. But the euphoria was to be short-lived.

Michel Fourniret, now 65, and Monique Olivier fled from France to the village of Sart-Custinne in the Ardennes in 1991, where they bought a farmhouse and raised their son, Sélim, born in 1988. The quiet, polite couple lived there without suspicion, even briefly finding work in the local primary school as playground and canteen supervisors.

On June 26, 2003, a Belgian police van pulled up outside their dark stone-walled house at the edge of the village, bringing to an end the activities of a man who many believe is one of France’s most prolific serial killers. Fourniret was arrested for the kidnap of a 13-year-old girl in the nearby town of Ciney, who earlier that afternoon had managed to escape from his van. Marie-Ascension – whose surname was withheld for legal reasons – was rescued by a passing woman motorist who had taken down Fourniret’s registration number. Belgian police applied to the French for his criminal record, but none was found even though Fourniret had been convicted in France for separate crimes of paedophilia, exhibitionism and serious sex assaults.

But the Belgians were suspicious of the short, bespectacled, well-spoken Frenchman who had installed an elaborate door-locking system in his Citröen van. They re-examined dozens of unsolved sex crimes in Belgium as well as France, notably the murder on May 16, 2000, of 18-year-old Céline Saison (a decade to the day after Joanna Parrish’s murder), and on May 5, 2001, of 13-year-old Mananya Thumpong, who both disappeared close to their homes in the French Ardennes and whose remains were found dumped and rotting in forests just across the border in Belgium. By June 2004, Belgian police had sent human hairs found in Fourniret’s van for DNA analysis in France.

One sample, they suspected, belonged to Thumpong. They believe that was why Monique Olivier, frequently questioned about Fourniret and whose lawyer was informed of the move, decided the game was up. On June 28 she agreed to give a statement, one that was to stun the Belgians.

“My husband has murdered at least six women,” she declared. The murders began in 1987. She included anecdotes, such as how on the night he allegedly murdered Céline Saison alone, he came home to tell her: “I went hunting today, and I obtained satisfaction.” That first statement was followed by others, revealing two more murders. Confronted with the statements, Fourniret was to confirm and eventually add to them. He initially admitted only the earliest murders, potentially covered by France’s crime-prescriptions law; this states that nobody can be charged for a murder if the investigation has been formally closed for more than 10 years.

This was later overruled as non-applicable to serial killings. He even swore on the head of his grandchildren that he did not commit the more recent crimes, before finally giving way. In a ping-pong trail of statements, their corroborating accounts provided irrefutable evidence of their involvement in the crimes; Fourniret later led police to the bodies that had never been found, directing earth-diggers like an enthusiastic works foreman to within inches of the secret burial spots in the tree-lined park of their former home, a chateau in the Ardennes. The pair agreed on seven murders in France and one in Belgium, along with miscellaneous crimes including assaults and armed robbery. The Belgian and French investigators remain certain that they have revealed only the tip of an unfathomed iceberg. But in 2005, Belgium agreed to hand them over to France for a trial now planned for autumn this year.

“When we got news of Monique Olivier’s statement, it was a very special moment. We felt we were at the beginning of the end of 15 years of trauma and nightmares, lost evidence, interminable bureaucracy, a wild, emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair,” explains Joanna’s father, Roger Parrish, 63, a retired land-registry official from Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire.

But less than a month after the confession, the senior French prosecutor Yves Charpenel told the Belgian daily De Morgan that Fourniret’s DNA didn’t match the main piece of evidence – semen found in Joanna’s body during the postmortem. “We were absolutely shattered,” recalls Joanna’s mother, Pauline Sewell, 62. “We knew that until then, Michel Fourniret had confirmed everything his wife accused him of, and it might be just a question of time before he finally admitted to his crime,” adds Parrish. “We also knew that in 1990 he had a house close to Auxerre and above all that he’d confessed, right at the beginning, to the murder of a 17-year-old girl there.

Then there was the presence of Monique Olivier, which for us helped explain why Jo, a prudent, careful young woman, could have got into a vehicle,” says Sewell. “It all seemed to add up. But then we also knew DNA doesn’t lie – or so we thought.” In the absence of any contact from the French authorities, they asked their Paris lawyer for an explanation. It transpired that the DNA profile taken from the stored semen was identified in 1993 using a now obsolete system called HLA-DQ alpha.

Fourniret’s DNA was established using the now common SGM+ system, which is incompatible with the former system. While a complete DNA profile established by HLA-DQ alpha cannot be compared with another developed from SGM+, a partial comparison of some DNA information, represented by a series of numbers, is possible – a little like comparing the same corner pieces from two picture puzzles; if there is no identical detail of numbers, it cannot be the same DNA.

When the French first tried this, they decided Fourniret was ruled out. But Joanna’s parents then learnt from expert advice that the 1993 DNA result was not only obsolete but also flawed; the supposed “single” DNA in fact contains a mixture of information about both Joanna’s DNA profile and that of her aggressor. Her parents were back on the rollercoaster. They turned to Detective Superintendent Bernard Kinsella, head of Gloucestershire Constabulary’s specialist crime operations, who had been assigned as a liaison officer to provide assistance with their case. Kinsella consulted a British DNA scientist, Dr Colin Dark, a specialist adviser for the Forensic Science Service (FSS) experienced in “cold case” reviews.

Dark is an expert in the FSS’s pioneering “low copy number” technique, a unique and super-sensitive method of analysis whereby a DNA profile can be found in evidence containing just a few cells – matter so minute that it is invisible to the naked eye. He considered that by applying DNA LCN to the original slide upon which the sperm sample was examined in 1993, there was a fighting chance of finding traces of semen from which a full SGM+ DNA profile could be produced. With Parrish and Sewell’s help, Kinsella made an inventory of all the other evidence recorded in the French case file, which he hoped was still preserved; this included scratchings from under Joanna’s fingernails and skin from strangulation marks, widening the chances of finding a profile through DNA LCN. The next hurdle was for Kinsella to convince the French into accepting Dr Dark’s assistance.

A qualified draughtsman, who by his early thirties ran his own tool-making business near Paris, Michel Fourniret was an expert handyman whose hobby, DIY, disguised his gravedigging.

Fourniret was 24 when he was first convicted, for abducting and abusing a 10-year-old girl in his native town of Sedan in the Ardennes. After two further convictions, he was arrested in 1984 for a series of kidnaps and sex attacks on teenage girls and young women in the Paris region, and placed in preventive detention. That was when Monique Olivier, twice married and with two estranged children, found his small ad in a weekly Catholic magazine appealing for a penpal.

They began an intense correspondence, discovered in Belgium after their arrests, in which she lovingly addressed him alternately as “My dear Shere Khan” – a reference to the tiger in Kipling’s Jungle Book tales – and “my beast”. They swapped promises of raping virgins, a recurrent theme for Fourniret, who described his prey as “membranes on legs”. In June 1987 he was finally tried for 11 sex assaults and given a prison sentence of seven years, two of them suspended. Having already served three years awaiting trial, and being a model prisoner, he was released early for good conduct four months later.

On October 26 he walked free through the doors of Fleury-Mérogis prison, south of Paris, where Olivier was waiting for him in her green Peugeot estate. They immediately set up home in northern Burgundy, in the village of St Cyr-les-Colons. At 4.45pm on Friday, December 11, six weeks after Fourniret’s release from prison, 17-year-old Isabelle Laville disappeared on her regular 20-minute walk home from school in the Auxerre suburb of St Georges-sur-Baulche. No witnesses were ever found, despite her route following a busy commuter road along which lay two secondary schools spilling out children for the weekend break. Olivier has now explained that Laville was her first offering to her “beast”, chosen because of the long-haired schoolgirl’s supposed resemblance to a younger Olivier as a virgin. Olivier drew up alongside Laville and asked directions, convincing her to get in and show her the way; Fourniret was already waiting further along the road with a jerry can, posing as a stranded motorist whom Olivier then obligingly stopped for.

Olivier remembers that Fourniret, from the back seat, soon passed a cord around Laville’s neck, and both agree they drugged their captive during the drive back to their house in St Cyr-les-Colons, where Olivier admits stimulating Fourniret with oral sex when he found himself physically unable to rape Laville. It was upon Fourniret’s indications that, in July last year, Laville’s remains were recovered from the bottom of a now disused 30-metre well in countryside north of Auxerre. Fourniret and Olivier said they found the well by accident. “They are liars!” said Alain Behr, the Laville family lawyer.

“They constantly manipulate, playing between truth and lies. The well was within a closed brick transformer building – he could not have known what was in there.” Behr’s point, confirmed by a retired local farmer who told me even he had no idea a well was there, is that Fourniret had prepared the site beforehand. Just 11 miles from the well, on the main road back to Auxerre, lies the village of Monéteau, where Joanna Parrish’s body was discovered.

A third-year languages undergraduate at Leeds University, Joanna was posted as a teaching assistant to the Lycée Jacques Amyot in Auxerre. In early May 1990, two weeks before she was due to return home, the 20-year-old placed three adverts in a local weekly freesheet, Le 89; one was to sell an electric plate, another offered private English tuition, and the other, baby-sitting services. By May 10, a man who has never been identified had called to ask her to give English lessons to his young teenage son. “She mentioned it on the telephone that night,” recalls Silvia Baldassari, a German-language assistant and flatmate of Joanna’s, who had by then returned to Austria. “She said they agreed to meet in the town centre.” She and Joanna’s friend, Janet Davis, remember the man said he lived just outside the town.

Davis was with Joanna when she left the lycée on Wednesday, May 16, between 6.30pm and 7pm for her appointment. At 9am the next morning, Joanna’s body, naked except for her jewellery and watch, was found floating face down in the River Yonne at Monéteau, a village five miles north of Auxerre. In March 2006, just over a year after Olivier’s confession to Joanna’s murder, Roger Parrish and Pauline Sewell travelled from their homes in Gloucestershire to the town of Charleville-Mézières in the Ardennes. There they met for the first time with the two French examining magistrates leading the investigations into all the suspected crimes of Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier, including the murder of Joanna. With them was Bernard Kinsella. Fourniret and Olivier had by then been extradited to France, and the French prosecuting authorities were pressing to bring the pair swiftly to trial for the seven murders on the charge sheet in 2004. But Fourniret still denied murdering either Joanna Parrish or Marie-Angèle Domece, and without his help both cases were stalled. His wife, meanwhile, had by then also accused Fourniret of killing several baby-sitters they employed in the early 1990s at their home in Sart-Custinne. Belgian investigators say a statement by another baby-sitter employed by the couple there supports Olivier’s story. During the March 30 meeting, the magistrates Pascal Préaubert and Anne Devigne told Roger Parrish and Pauline Sewell that they were convinced that Fourniret and Olivier had murdered their daughter. “It was an awesome moment,” remembers Parrish.

“They were absolutely categorical, without any hesitation.” Maybe the most important evidence was an observation from the 1990 postmortem on Joanna that had never before been the focus of investigation: tiny pinprick marks were found on the inside of one of her elbows. Exactly the same marks were found on the body of the 20-year-old student Fabienne Leroy, whom Fourniret and Olivier have confessed to kidnapping and shooting dead near Châlons-en-Champagne, in northeast France, in 1988. During his description of Leroy’s murder, Fourniret (who has never had access to the secret details of the 1988 postmortem) explained without prompting that he had tried but failed to inject air into her blood supply – an unusual and particularly sadistic murder method. During the three-hour meeting, the magistrates agreed to Kinsella’s offer of British forensic help, giving their approval for evidence kept since the postmortem to be sent for analysis at Dr Dark’s laboratories in the UK – the first collaboration of its kind between France and Britain, excepting the Princess Diana inquiry. But to place the couple under formal investigation for Parrish’s murder, the magistrates were required to request a Belgian high court to retroactively join the case to the terms of their extradition. Incredibly, those terms, established in late 2005, several months after Olivier’s confession, did not include the suspicion that they murdered Parrish. The Sunday Times has now learnt that Olivier had by then even given a second statement entirely confirming her February confession and specifically naming Joanna Parrish as the victim. But today, more than a year later, Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier have still not been formally placed under investigation for the murder. Last month they were finally sent or trial, planned for later this year, on the seven other counts of murder.

The half-hearted investigation, in which there has never been any public appeal for information, has still not established two crucial points: whether Fourniret and Olivier could have been in Auxerre at the time that Joanna Parrish was murdered, nor how Fourniret could have known of her advert in the local paper.

In 1988 the couple set up home in the Ardennes town of Floing, 170 miles from Auxerre, while keeping, unoccupied, the house in St Cyr-les-Colons. According to Olivier’s statement about Joanna’s murder, she and Fourniret travelled to Auxerre under the pretence of picking up furniture from their Burgundy house. The Sunday Times has learnt that it was in the spring of 1990 that they moved from their bungalow in the town to the nearby Château de Sautou, bought in 1989 with stolen loot from bank raids. A former neighbour and friend of the couple in Floing recalled how they often left on trips of several days during this period. In her statement, Olivier said they abducted Joanna after a failed attempt during the same period to seize another young woman in Auxerre. If this was in fact the previous week, it was precisely when Joanna’s advert appeared in the freesheet Le 89, which records show was at that time delivered throughout the Auxerre region, including St Cyr-les-Colons. Joanna’s advertisement offering English lessons appeared on the same page as her other one offering a baby-sitting service. Belgian investigators have established that the couple used newspaper ads to recruit baby-sitters. On August, 14, 1990, three months after Joanna Parrish’s murder, a young female motorist (whose name has been withheld) came across Fourniret’s stationary van, parked as if broken down, along a road in countryside near Reims, eastern France. When she asked Fourniret if he needed help, he bluntly replied that he wanted to sodomise her – an act the postmortem concluded Joanna had endured. The incident was recorded at the local police station she fled to, where a blasé Fourniret followed her and offered excuses. He was released with a caution – and four months later murdered Natacha Danais in Nantes.

Last December, Prosecutor Nachbar met the families of seven of Fourniret and Olivier’s alleged victims. They would indeed be tried for these crimes, but Nachbar told the families that he had no intention of trying the couple for the murder of Joanna, nor any of the other crimes they had not confessed to – simply because they could take years to solve.

That decision meant that the already twice-postponed trial could proceed without further delays. The magistrates’ promise to Joanna’s parents last year to place Fourniret and Olivier under formal investigation for her murder was broken almost as soon as it was made. “Fourniret will be judged only for those crimes he’s been happy to help with, a master of ceremonies at his own trial and with all thanks to the prosecutor’s office in Charleville-Mézières,” protests Parrish and Sewell’s Paris lawyer, Didier Seban.

“I fear Joanna has been sacrificed a second time.” Nachbar, who will lead the prosecution case at the trial – arguably the most media-hyped of any in recent French criminal history – rejects the accusation. “The evidence for formally placing them under investigation is insufficient at present,” he claims. “I understand why Joanna’s parents are angry, but we can’t rush things.” It wasn’t until earlier this month, more than a year after the French magistrates first agreed to send evidence in the case to Britain for advanced DNA examination by Dr Dark, that Det Supt Kinsella finally received their written authorisation to begin the operation.

It came days after Fourniret and Olivier were committed for trial. Dark says the first results from low-copy-number analysis could be had within weeks of the evidence arriving in Britain, expected later this month. “We’re very hopeful of getting something that identifies the offender,” Dark commented from his laboratory in Chepstow, Monmouthshire. If DNA from Fourniret or Olivier was found, it would be unthinkable that their trial would not be delayed to include charges for Joanna’s murder. But now there are fears that some of the evidence, scattered across several locations in France, may be lost. “I understand that the French cannot account for the most crucial exhibits – the 1993 slide of semen and the scrapings found under Jo’s fingernails,” said Roger Parrish. “In the interests of retaining my sanity, I am hoping that cannot be true.” Kinsella refuses to comment on the state of the evidence or the handling of the case across the Channel. “We are very pleased to assist the French,” he said. “There are no foregone conclusions; the single important thing is to deliver justice to Joanna’s family.” Despite the circumstantial evidence stacked against Fourniret, Joanna’s parents are only too aware that another surprise may be waiting. “We’re ready for that, the truth is all we want,” Mr Parrish says. He and Sewell believe this is the greatest opportunity since 1990 of solving their daughter’s murder. By all accounts, it is also the last.

Fourniret 'fit to stand trial'

September 10, 2004

BRUSSELS - French serial killer Michel Fourniret is mentally fit to stand trial for his crimes, it was reported on Friday.

The 62-year-old carpenter, who is accused of killing 10 people in Belgium and France between 1987 and 2001, was examined by psychiatrists over the summer on the order of a Belgian magistrate.

Dinant prosecutor Arnoud d'Aspremont Lynden told Le Soir the psychiatric report confirmed Tourniret was responsible for his actions and therefore did not need to be taken to a mental institution.

It looks likely now that Fourniret, who newspapers have dubbed 'the Ogre of the Ardennes' and 'the French Dutroux', will face trial in Reims because most of his crimes were committed in France.

He has admitted to nine of the murders, those of eight girls and women and of a French male motorist, who he said he shot for money.

Among his victims was Belgian 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet whose body was dug up in the Ardennes forest, on the Belgian-French border, at a chateau owned by Fourniret.

However, he continues to deny his wife Monique Oliver's accusation that in 1993 he also murdered a young blonde woman, who the couple allegedly hired as an au pair.

Fourniret has claimed since his arrest in June that he did not kill anyone between 1990 and 2000.

Investigators are due to carry out searches for the body of the au pair at a lake at Rienne, near Sart-Custinne, where the couple used to live.

France haunted by spectre of serial killing as anger mounts over policing

As one multiple murderer's deeds are revealed, fear grows of a possible second

Saturday July 10, 2004

The streets of Colmar will be teeming but silent this afternoon as hundreds of mourners file through its picturesque centre to mount a wordless demonstration of their horror at the latest serial killings to strike France.

The march through this small town near the German border has been organised by relatives of Julie Scharsch, 14, who disappeared this month while cycling near her home. Her half-naked body was found in a stream last weekend.

Mixed up with their grief, her family are angry that Pierre Boudein, the suspect arrested in connection with the murder, was released early from a previous prison sentence in May. Investigators are looking at whether he might have been responsible for the deaths of two other women in recent weeks.

The corpses of two more girls murdered by a prolific killer were also dug up last weekend, in a chateau near the French-Belgian border. Michel Fourniret, 62, has admitted murdering nine people, seven of them young girls, and police believe he may be responsible for many more deaths. He killed his victims after being freed from jail without proper supervision.

As the details of both cases fill the pages of French magazines, illustrated with the smiling images of young female victims, a new debate has been triggered over the failures of the French judicial system.

Furious newspaper editorials have demanded to know how it was that Boudein, 56, (known in the media as Pierrot le Fou), who had spent 35 years of his life being ferried between mental institutions and prisons, was not more closely supervised on being freed, and how was it that Fourniret (dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes"), with a history as a sex offender, notched up a terrible tally of victims over the course of three decades without attracting the attention of police.

Accused of neglecting to protect the nation's children from repeat killers, the government has rushed this week to publish new proposals outlining stricter surveillance of persistent sex offenders. Meanwhile, new excavations are expected over the next few days as the search for bodies continues.

Polite and reserved, an autodidact who studied the basics of Russian and was equally fond of classical music, DIY and chess, Fourniret had managed to conceal the worst of his crimes from police until last week. The exposure of his prolific career as a child abductor and killer came as an unexpected consequence of the sentencing of fellow paedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux last month.

Fourniret's ex-wife, Monique Olivier, was horrified when she heard on the news in late June that Dutroux's wife had been given a 30-year sentence for the role she played. Apparently afraid that she might be subjected to a similar punishment if she failed to come forward first, Ms Olivier, 55, decided to end years of loyal silence and contacted police. She gave them the names and dates of 10 murders she claimed her husband had committed; eight of the victims were, she alleged, teenage girls.

When questioned by Belgian police in the prison where he was already serving a sentence for attempted child abduction, Fourniret, a father of five, tried initially to deny the crimes before relenting and admitting to nine of the killings.

The minutiae of his regular "virgin hunting" sessions, which emerged from his wife's testimony, have been leaked to the French media. The two had a series of ruses for picking up their victims: they stalked educational institutions in the Auxerre region, pretending to be lost and persuading girls to get in their van to direct them. From time to time, they would bring their baby son with them in the van as bait, using him as a pretext to ask women to get in to help them find a doctor for their sick child.

Fourniret's career would have continued had it not been for the resourcefulness of a 13-year-old Belgian, Maria-Ascension, who managed to untie herself in the back of his white van after her kidnap last year and leap out during a pause at a traffic lights.

Before escaping she had asked him: "Are you a member of Dutroux's band?" and he replied, according to a report in Le Point this week: "No! I'm worse than him."

Heavily guarded and wearing a bullet-proof vest for his own protection, Fourniret was transferred on Thursday to a high-security prison in Belgium, where questioning continues. Detectives are trying to establish what happened in the missing years between 1990 and 2000.

"I am sceptical about the fact that he didn't act during that entire period," Yves Charpenel, a Reims prosecutor, told Le Parisien newspaper. "In any case, he says he 'hunted' two young girls a year. We are far from that number."

French police, working in con junction with colleagues across the border, have this week reopened 30 murder inquiries to search for similarities. Among them is the case of Joanna Parrish, an English language assistant at an Auxerre lycee, who went missing aged 21 on May 16 1990.

According to her friends, she had organised a rendezvous with a man who had told her he wanted to find someone to give English lessons to his son. Her naked body was found the next day. DNA testing has already been requested by her family's lawyer to see whether samples taken from her corpse might match Fourniret.


The unease stirred up by reports of Fourniret's crimes has been compounded by the unfolding of the parallel investigation into Bodein.

Detectives were yesterday analysing similarities between the murder of Julie and those of Jeanne-Marie, 11, whose body was pulled from a ditch in the same area last month, and of Hedwige Vallee, 38, whose stabbed corpse was discovered nearby, also in June.

The unfortunate coincidence of events has forced the government to unveil new proposals for improvements in the way France deals with repeat offenders.

This has launched a widespread debate on whether recidivists should be allowed reductions in their sentences for good behaviour, and on the use of electronic tagging and the need for greater education for psychiatrists in the sphere of sexual offences. Human rights activists have warned that this may prove a kneejerk response to the simmering public hysteria, and that some of the measures would harm the prospects of those prisoners determined to reform.

However, the crowds who are expected in Colmar this afternoon for a demonstration of public anger will think differently. Julie's family lawyer told French radio that marchers would be demanding stricter early release limits on "particularly hardened or dangerous prisoners".

Time-line of a killer

December 1980: Michel Fourniret admits to murdering a motorist in a rest area off the A6 in Burgundy to steal his wallet.

1987: Killed the partner of cell-mate Jean-Pierre Hellegouache, the treasurer of French terror group Direct Action for financial reasons.

December 1987: Isabelle Laville, 17, disappears in Auxerre where Fourniret's wife Monique is from.

August 1988: Fabienne Leroy disappears from the Marne region. Fourniret admits killing her, copying the methods used by another killer operating in the area.

March 1989: Jeanne Marie Desramault, 22, disappears. Fourniret admits killing her.

December 1989: Elisabeth Brichet, 12, missing in Belgium. He admits killing her.

November 1990: Natacha Danais, 13 years, kidnapped from the Loire-Atlantique region. Found stabbed to death three days later. Fourniret admits to killing her.

1993: Au-pair, denied killing her though his wife says he did.

May 2000: Celine Saison, 18, disappears in Belgium. Fourniret says he cannot remember her.

May 2001: Mananya Thumpong, 13, disappears in Belgium. He does not deny killing her but cannot remember her.

June 2003: A 13-year-old he abducted escapes from his van and gives police a good description of her kidnapper, leading to the arrest of Fourniret.

Killer leads police to victims

July 4, 2004

A French avowed serial killer has led police to the bodies of a 12-year-old girl and 22-year-old woman he admitted having killed and buried on the grounds of his former home 15 years earlier, prosecutors said.

The two are among nine people, including eight women and girls, that Michel Fourniret has confessed to having killed between 1987 and 2001.

"We have found the second body, and thus 15 years of investigation have just come to their conclusion," prosecutor Yves Charpenel announced on the site of the chateau, in the Ardennes forest region bordering Belgium and France.

"It is with quite some emotion that I announce the discovery of (the remains of) Elisabeth Brichet," a 12-year-old Belgian girl whom Michel Fourniret has admitted to killing in 1989, said another prosecutor, Cedric Visart de Bocarme.

The body of Jeanne-Marie Desramault, who Fourniret said he also killed and interred in 1989, was identified earlier. Prosecutors said experts would conduct analyses to confirm the identifications.

In a startling case that has unfolded with dramatic speed, Fourniret, 62, confessed days ago to the nine killings, many of which took place in this wooded border region, and then offered to help police dig up the remains of two of his victims at the chateau he once owned.

He has been dubbed "the French Dutroux" by media because his confessions emerged just a week after Belgian's most-hated man Marc Dutroux received a life sentence for a horrific series of rapes and murders of teenage girls that traumatised Belgian society.

Fourniret, who has been held in Belgium since June 2003 for abduction of minors and sexual misconduct, confessed to the killings after his estranged wife accused him of committing at least 10 murders.

Both he and his wife, Monique Olivier, were brought to the Sautou chateau Saturday, where about 200 police equipped with ground-digging excavators hunted for the victims' bodies in areas indicated by Fourniret.

When the bodies were disinterred, Fourniret showed no emotion, prosecutor Charpenel told journalists on the site, near this small town in the French Ardennes mountains.

The prosecutor said expert testing would be done, possible DNA testing, to confirm the victims' identities, adding that the "clay earth has preserved the bodies".

Speaking of Brichart's body, Visart de Bocarme said: "The elements of visual identification are absolutely positive, there are traces of fabric which have made a formal identification possible."

Fourniret was convicted of rape and indecent assault on minors and sentenced to seven years in prison, and was released early in 1987. But his criminal record never reached police in Belgium.

Newspapers however said Belgian police had known about his sexual proclivities since 2001.

He was arrested again in Belgium last year after allegedly trying to abduct a 13-year-old Congolese girl who escaped and led police to him.

France digs for "Ogre" victims

July 3, 2004

DONCHERY, France (Reuters) - A suspected French serial killer, dubbed the Ogre of the Ardennes after officials said he confessed to nine murders, has led police to his old chateau in the woods to dig for bodies of a woman and girl.

Earth-movers turned up soil at two spots in the vast grounds of the Sautou chateau aided by directions from Michel Fourniret, 62, a former forest warden who officials say started to confess this week after his estranged wife denounced him.

His former chateau, over 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Paris, was cordoned off and he was rushed in from over the nearby Belgian border amid heavy security to seek the remains of Elisabeth Brichet, a Belgian who vanished aged 12, and Frenchwoman Jeanne-Marie Desramault, who disappeared at age 22.

Authorities in France, Belgium and the Netherlands are checking decades of files for links with other disappearances.

Yves Charpenel, a French state prosecutor heading inquiries, sounded optimistic after a few hours at the chateau, noting that the digging was taking place at very specific areas identified separately by Fourniret and his wife, who was also present.

"He's tight-lipped and there's no emotion but he is quite precise and his declarations are confirmed by his wife," Charpenel told journalists.

"Fourniret says he buried the bodies using mechanical devices ... so we're looking about one metre down in two precise spots."

Fourniret has been in custody in the Belgian town of Dinant since last year over the attempted kidnapping of a young girl but confessed this week to the killings. Nearly all the victims were girls.

The bodies of two of them, Celine Saison and Mananya Thumpong who vanished in 2000 and 2001, were discovered in woods after their murders. Of other girls or young women he says he killed, one 12-year-old was raped and strangled in 1989.

Belgian and French investigators are seeking more details from his wife, Monique Olivier, about a possible 10th body.

She told Belgian investigators this week that Fourniret killed their au pair and buried her near their house in Sart-Custinne, Belgium.

Fourniret met Olivier, then a prison visitor, while he was in jail in France in the 1980s for raping minors.

But his criminal past was not known by Belgian authorities when he took a job as a school supervisor after leaving France and the Sautou chateau some 12 years ago.

The case has caused a scandal just days after Belgian Marc Dutroux was convicted of the kidnap, rape and murder of young girls.

Belgian public prosecutor Anne Thily gave a chilling report on Wednesday of Olivier's accusations against Fourniret.

"He would say to his wife 'I'm going out hunting. So there you have it. I'm going out and you know very well that it means I am going to look for young girl, pretty, maybe virgin," Thily said.

"Then he brought her home, kept her two or three days, raped her...and then strangled her."

French forester admits murdering six children

July 1, 2004

A SECOND suspected child killer is facing trial in Belgium after admitting murdering six young girls on both sides of the Franco-Belgian border.

A week after Marc Dutroux was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering six girls in Belgium in 1995 and 1996, a French forestry worker confessed yesterday to having killed a similar number of children.

Anne Thily, state prosecutor in Liège, said that Michel Fourniret, 62, had told investigators that he committed the crimes in northeastern France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001.

Among his victims was a 12-year-old Belgian girl, Elisabeth Brichet, who was killed after being snatched in Namur in 1989. “Michel Fourniret has admitted kidnapping her and . . . that he was forced to kill her,” Cédric Visart de Bocarmé, the crown prosecutor who is in charge of the Brichet case, said.

Francis Brichet, Elisabeth’s father, said that he had been told by police that M Fourniret had confessed to having “raped, killed and buried” her.

He said that it was a “relief” to know what had happened to her: “But I’m not celebrating. We have to wait to see whether this M Fourniret will go back on what he has said.”

The forestry worker is suspected of having murdered two French teenagers, Céline Saison, 18, from Charleville-Meziérès, and Manyana Thumpong, 13, from Sedan.

Both were violently assaulted and their bodies were found in woodland. However, the Belgian authorities refused to say if he had admitted to the killings.

M Fourniret’s confession came after his wife, Monique Olivier, accused him of nine child murders, some of which she said she had seen, and others of which she was told about by her husband.

Mme Olivier, a former prison visitor, was arrested last week and charged with failing to help a person in danger. She was remanded in custody in the southern Belgian town of Namur, prosecution officials said.

According to Belgian television reports, she told the police what she knew after Dutroux’s wife, Michelle Martin, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for her role in the serial murders. Mme Olivier was afraid of a similar sentence if she denied knowledge of her husband’s alleged crimes, police sources said.

M Fourniret was arrested in Belgium last year after kidnapping a 13-year-old girl who escaped and alerted the police.

Hairs were found in his van, but Belgian investigators have not yet received the result of DNA tests to check whether they are from his suspected victims.

Since M Fourniret’s arrest, police in Belgium and France have been trying to piece together his movements over the past few years with the help of mobile phone records, credit card receipts and motorway toll tickets, in an attempt to link him with several missing girls.

M Fourniret was sentenced to seven years in prison at Evry Criminal Court outside Paris in 1987 after being convicted of rape, violent assault and indecency in France.

Confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret (front R) arriving at the Dinant, Belgium, court house, on July 1, 2004.
© Yves Boucau/epa/Corbis

Confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret leaving the Dinant, Belgium, court house, on July 1, 2004.
© Yves Boucau/epa/Corbis

DONCHERY, FRANCE: Alleged French serial killer Michel Fourniret (C) is escorted by members of French police special squad as the look for bodies at the Chateau de Sautou in Donchery, northeastern France, 03 July 2004. The Frenchman, who has admitted to killing nine people, eight of them young women and girls, was taken by police to the French chateau where he has claimed to have buried two of his victims. Michel Fourniret, 62, arrived at the chateau he once owned in the wooded Ardennes region just inside the border of France with Belgium, accompanied by his wife Monique Olivier, police said. AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Michel Fourniret gives indications to the police in northen France. The bodies of two missing children were
discovered in the Le Sautou castle. Among them, the corpse of Belgian Elisabeth Brichet, July 3, 2004
© Olivier Polet/Corbis



Confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret (R) leaving the police headquarters in Dinant, Belgium, July 8, 2004
© Yves Boucau/epa/Corbis

Confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret

Namur's King Prosecutor, Cedric Visart de Bocarme with judiciary experts during the reconstruction of
the kidnapping of Elisabeth Brichet by French serial killer Michel Fourniret and his wife Monique Olivier
near the Belgrade cemetery in Saint-Servais, Namur. 12-year-old Elsiabeth Brichet was kidnapped
and murdered on December 23, 1989.
October 18, 2004 © Van Parys Media/Corbis

DINANT, BELGIUM: Self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret (2nd L), who is in detention in Belgium,
arrives for a hearing at the court house of Dinant, 31 January 2005. Fourniret has admitted to the murder
of nine people, mostly women and young girls, in France and Belgium.
(Photo credit should read B
runo Arnold/AFP/Getty Images)

Self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret

Self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret arrives at the court house of Dinant, for a recap session
of his file, before being extradited to France in the following weeks. Fourniret has admitted to murder
nine people, mostly women and young girls, in France and Belgium. December 22, 2005.
© Bruno Arnold/epa/Corbis

French police officers carry documents for the case of French alleged serial killer Michel Fourniret during his
extradition by Belgian police to France in Couvin, Belgium, after being held in a Belgian prison since June 2003.
Fourniret is to stand trial in France over the murders of at least seven young women in both countries.
January 9, 2006. © Bruno Arnold /epa/Corbis

Chalons-en-Champagne, FRANCE: Picture taken 11 April 2006 shows French alleged serial killer Michel Fourniret
(C) attending, in Chalons-en-Champagne, the re-enactment of kidnapping and murder of Fabienne Leroy.
lain Julien (Photo credit should read Alain Julien/AFP/Getty Images)




The castle of Sautou, the property of Fourniret, close to the Belgian border.

The castle of Sautou

The search

The trial

A policeman guards the courtroom where the trial of the self confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret
will be conducted at Charleville Mezieres courthouse. March 26, 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Gilles Latapie, presiding judge, speaks as Michel Fourniret's trial starts at the courthouse in Charleville
Mezieres, Ardennes, France. March 27, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

View of items to be brought as evidence in the Michel Fourniret trial which starts at the courthouse,
in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France. March 27, 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Michel Fourniret leaves the courthouse after his first day of trial, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes, France.
March 27, 2008. © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

French self-confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret leaves Charleville-Mezieres courthouse,
France, in a police van March 27, 2008.

The Citroen van, as the court, the jury and others inspect the van used by Michel Fourniret to kidnap the Belgian
girl Marie, at the trial against Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier, in Charleville-Mezieres, France.
April 1, 2008 © Benoit Doppagne/epa/Corbis

The back of the Citroen van, as the court, the jury and others inspect the car used by Michel Fourniret to kidnap
the Belgian girl Marie, at the trial against Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier, in Charleville-Mezieres, France.
April 1, 2008 © Benoit Doppagne/epa/Corbis

Michel Fourniret arrives at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes, France.
May 27, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Michel Fourniret leaves the jail center on his way to the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes.
Fourniret, dubbed the Ogre of the Ardennes, is to hear the sentence with his wife Monique Olivier
for the kidnap, rape and murder of seven young women found dead between 1987 and 2001.
May 28, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis



Michel Fourniret and his wife Monique Olivier in 1992 (top) and after their arrests in 2004

Monique Olivier & Michel Fourniret

Monique Olivier & Michel Fourniret

Michel Fourniret and his wife Monique Olivier

Monique Olivier

Monique Olivier

Monique Olivier

Monique Olivier

French Monique Olivier, wife of French self-confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret, arrives
at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes, France.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Monique Olivier, the wife of self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret sits inside the glass protection
box before their trial starts at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France, 27 March 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Monique Olivier, the wife of self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret sits inside the glass protection
box before their trial starts at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France, 27 March 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Monique Olivier, the wife of self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret sits inside the glass protection
box before their trial starts at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France, 27 March 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Monique Olivier, the wife of self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret sits inside the glass protection
box before their trial starts at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France, 27 March 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Monique Olivier, the wife of self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret sits inside the glass protection
box before their trial starts at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes , France, 27 March 2008.
© Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis




The victims

Confessed murders

Isabelle LavilleA 17-year old French girl. She disappeared in Auxerre, France, on her way from school to home.

Fabienne LeroyA 20-year old girl. She disappeared in 1988 in Mourmelon, and her body was later found in the nearby woods.

Jeanne-Marie DesramaultA 22-year old French student. She disappeared in 1989 from the railway station of Charleville-Méziere,
and her body was recovered from the estate of Fourniret with his assistance.

Elisabeth BrichetA 12-year-old Belgian girl. She disappeared from Namur in 1989 after playing with a friend. This case has been
long thought to be linked to the Dutroux case. Fourniret led police to her burial site on his estate in France.

Natacha DanaisA 13-year old French girl, disappeared in 1990.

Farida HellegouarchThe girlfriend of one of the leaders of Action Directe, a former cellmate of Fourniret's. Fourniret killed
her in 1990 to access the group's funds. He bought his castle in France with the money.

Céline SaisonA 18-year old who disappeared in 2000 in Sedan, and her body was found in Belgium.

Manyana Thumpong
A 18-year old who disappeared in 2001 from Charleville-Méziere. Her body was also later found in Belgium.

An unidentified man - Fourniret killed this man in a robbery for some quick cash.

Possible victims

Self-confessed French serial killer Michel Fourniret has been charged with two more murders including that of British
woman Joanna Parrish. Fourniret, 65, is charged with the kidnap, rape and murder of the 20-year-old Briton.

Tuesday March 11, 2008

Fourniret is also accused of murdering Marie-Angele Domece, a disabled 19-year-old who went
missing near the city in July 1988. Tuesday March 11, 2008

Jean Pierre Leroy, father of Fabienne, one of the victim of the self confessed French serial Killer
Michel Fourniret, speaks to journalists at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres.
May 28, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Francis Brichet, father of Elysabeth, one of the victim of the self confessed French serial Killer Michel
Fourniret, speaks to journalists at the courthouse, in Charleville Mezieres.
May 28, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

Marie-Noelle Bouzet, mother of Elisabeth Brichet, gives a news conference. Twelve--year-old Elisabeth
Brichet went missing on December 20, 1989, and her disappearance went unsolved for 15 years
until self-confessed child-killer Michel Fourniret recently admitted to murdering her.
July 28, 2004 © Benoit Doppagne/epa/Corbis

Dahina Le Guennan, who was allegedly raped by French serial killer Michel Fourniret at the age of 14,
speaks to journalists at the courthouse in Charleville Mezieres, Ardennes (08), France.
March 26, 2008 © Yoan Valat/epa/Corbis

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