Get Adobe Flash player

French serial killer and wife face life in jail

Sample Imageby Carole Landry*

A verdict was expected yesterday in the trial of a French serial killer for the rape and murder of seven girls and young women, and his wife, accused of helping lure his victims.
Prosecutors are demanding life sentences for Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier, whom they described as "a devil with two faces" in one of France's most gruesome cases of recent years.
Dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes", Fourniret, a 66-year-old machine operator, has admitted to the kidnap, rape and murder of seven young girls and women between 1987 and 2001.
His wife, a 59-year-old nurse, is accused of helping him trap his victims, who were aged between 12 and 22. They were shot, strangled or stabbed to death.
The nine-member jury was holed up in a local police station early yesterday and a verdict was expected in the afternoon.
In a final address to the court, Fourniret delivered a 15-minute diatribe — part of which was written in verse — against the prosecution and described his wife as "a poor woman incapable of harming anyone."
Olivier, charged in the murder of one of the young women and complicity in three others, expressed remorse at the end of the trial in the northeast town of Charleville-Mezieres.
"I regret everything that I have done. That is all," she said on Tuesday.
During the two-month trial, the jury heard Fourniret admit that he had a sexual obsession with virgins and describe being in an "altered state" when killing his victims.
"I remain an extremely dangerous individual," the bespectacled grey-haired Fourniret told the court.
Lawyers for Olivier sought to portray their client as the terrorised wife of a domineering and violent husband.
But state prosecutor Xavier Lenoir described her as a willing accomplice, saying she displayed a "deafening silence" to the screams of girls being raped by her husband.
Olivier testified that she and Fourniret would reproduce scenes from their crimes during sexual intercourse.
Fourniret met Olivier in the 1980s while he was serving time in jail on sexual assault charges. She responded to an ad he had placed for a pen pal.
Letters seized by investigators showed that Fourniret had made a pact with Olivier that in exchange for the murder of her first husband — who was never killed — she would find him virgins to satisfy his obsession.
Olivier denied in court that such a pact ever existed.
Among the most disturbing accounts, the court heard a coroner provide evidence suggesting Fourniret sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl after stabbing her to death in 1990.
Describing Fourniret as a "necrophiliac monster", state prosecutor Francis Nachbar called for a maximum sentence of life in prison for Fourniret, with no possibility of parole.
But on the final day of the trial, Fourniret's lawyer Pierre Blocquaux appealed to the jury to show compassion toward his client.
"He is part of our humanity, alas, regardless of the horrible nature of these acts," said Blocquaux. He announced that Fourniret would not appeal the sentence.
Lawyers for Olivier urged the jury to draw a distinction between her and Fourniret, arguing that she had no criminal record prior to meeting him.
The prosecution is seeking life imprisonment for Olivier, whom they described as Fourniret's "bloody muse" and a "deceitful witch", and said she should not be eligible for parole for 30 years.
The trial also laid bare some of the mistakes by police that allowed Fourniret to elude arrest for years, both in France and across the border in Belgium where he operated.
The couple was finally arrested in 2003 when a Belgian teenage girl managed to escape from Fourniret's vehicle and went to the police.
Fourniret faces charges in three other cases including the 1990 murder of Joanna Parrish, a 20-year-old British woman who worked as a teaching assistant in the central French city of Auxerre.

*AFP

 

 

Archives