French 'virgin-hunting' couple on trial for seven murders

28th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

A self-confessed French serial killer admitted Thursday to being "devoid of human emotion" as he went on trial.

   CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES, France, March 28, 2008 (AFP) - A self-confessed
French serial killer admitted Thursday to being "devoid of human emotion" as
he went on trial with his wife for the rape and murder of seven girls and
young women.
   The parents of the victims allegedly murdered by Michel Fourniret sat
opposite the accused and his wife Monique Olivier and heard how she had agreed to find virgins for him if he killed her first husband.
   Fourniret, 65, and Olivier, 59, sat with bowed heads behind bullet-proof
glass as court officials read out a litany of horrific crimes that began in
1987 and only ended in 2003 when a 13-year-old Belgian girl managed to escape his clutches and alert the police.
   The girl told Belgian investigators that Fourniret had boasted to her that
he was "worse than" Marc Dutroux, Belgium's most notorious criminal sentenced
to life in jail in 2004 for child kidnappings, rapes and murders.
   Fourniret, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes," began his trial by holding up
for the presiding judge a piece of paper that said: "My lips are sealed if
there is no closed door hearing."
   He then gave Judge Gilles Latapie a rolled document tied with a ribbon.
   "This is an explanation I intended to read out to explain why I am
boycotting the court," he said.
   In the meandering text, a copy of which AFP later obtained from his
lawyers, Fourniret said he would not cooperate with the trial because it would
be a media circus.
   But the bespectacled former electrician, on Thursday dressed in a blue
jumper and an open-necked shirt, admitted in the document that he was "a bad
person devoid of human emotion."
   He played down Olivier's role in his crimes, saying she "fell into the
odious nets of a manipulator" without any scruples, who led her into "a
perverse game."
   He also wrote that he frequently beat Olivier.
   Fourniret is accused of the rape and murder of six young women or teenage
girls in France and one in Belgium. He referred to his victims as "membranes
on legs," the court heard.
   Olivier, who spoke only to confirm her identity and name her defence
lawyers, is on trial for one of the same murders and complicity in four of his
other crimes whose victims were aged between 12 and 21 and who were either
strangled, stabbed with a screwdriver or shot.
   Letters seized by investigators showed that Fourniret, while in jail for
sexual assault in the 1980s, made a pact with Olivier "that in exchange for
the murder of Olivier's first husband she would find him a virgin to fulfill
his fantasies," a court official said.
   The court heard statements -- which often conflicted -- made to
investigators by the pair that after helping him trap girls Olivier would
sometimes insert her finger into their vaginas to test if they were still
   The court also heard that a separate investigation is under way to
determine whether Fourniret killed British student Joanna Parrish in France in
1990. A further probe is also to be carried out into whether he killed the
girlfriend of a bankrobber he met in prison.
   He is believed to have tricked the woman into showing him where her
boyfriend's loot was buried and then murdered her before stealing the money
and using it to buy a chateau in the Ardennes region of France and a house in
   Hundreds of locals from Charleville-Mezieres queued in pouring rain for a
seat in the court in this dreary town whose only previous claim to fame was as
the birthplace of the 19th-century poet Arthur Rimbaud.
   They watched Fourniret and Olivier sit stoney-faced as court officials took
a preliminary run through the evidence against them.
   They began with the 1987 murder of 17-year-old Isabelle Laville in the
central French region of Burgundy.
   Once the couple had lured her into their car, Fourniret "grabbed her by the
hair and asked her was she a virgin, and she replied in the affirmative,"
according to a statement Olivier made to investigators and read out in court.
   The girl was then drugged and taken to their home, where, after Olivier had
performed oral sex on him, he raped the girl, then strangled her and later
threw her body down a well, the court heard.
   The other alleged murders listed by officials followed a similar pattern.
   The trial is set to last two months.


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