Belgian police 'left French killer on prowl'

2nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

DINANT, Belgium, July 2 (AFP) - A Frenchman who has admitted to killing eight girls and young women had been reported to Belgian police as long ago as 2001, a report said Friday, as his wife was formally arrested for failing to help his victims.

DINANT, Belgium, July 2 (AFP) - A Frenchman who has admitted to killing eight girls and young women had been reported to Belgian police as long ago as 2001, a report said Friday, as his wife was formally arrested for failing to help his victims.

Michel Fourniret, 62, admitted late Thursday to killing two other teenage girls after confessing earlier in the week to killing six other young women in a bloody spree in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001.

On Thursday he was also charged murdering his au pair girl, but has denied the accusation even though his wife said Friday the girl had been buried in southern Belgium.

Fourniret received a seven-year sentence in 1987 from a French court in Essonne, south of Paris, for rape and indecent assault on minors. But he was freed after only a few months because of the length of time he had spent in custody.

The revelations come just a week after Belgian paedophile and child murderer Marc Dutroux was sentenced to life in prison for the abduction and rape of six girls in the mid-1990s, four of whom died, in a case that shook Belgium.

Reports that like Dutroux, Fourniret was also known to police, threaten to reopen a painful and sordid chapter in Belgian history as well as questions about the country's legal authorities.

Dinant prosecutor Arnoud d'Aspremont Lynden said Friday Fourniret's name was not on file. "We have found nothing about him," he said.

But the Vers l'Avenir daily said a young woman, who was harrassed by a man in April 2001 as she was walking home, had provided police with Fourniret's van registration number and a reasonable description of him.

According to her, she had been approached by a man in a white van who had pressed her to let him accompany her home in the southern Belgian town of Han-sur-Lesse.

The Belgian daily said the woman, who was 20 at the time, received a letter three weeks later from the victims support service, suggesting her complaint had been processed by the legal authorities. She was also given Fourniret's name by the authorities, the dialy said.

Fourniret's last known victim was Mananya Thumpong, 13, who disappeared in early May 2001 in northern Sedan in France, just a few kilometres away from Han-sur-Lesse.

Fourniret's wife Monique Olivier, 55, who has accused her husband of at least a dozen murders, was Friday formally arrested for failing to help a person in danger.

Fourniret confessed on Wednesday to killing six young women between 1987 and 2001 and burying two victims at a chateau he once owned in the wooded Ardennes region on the Franco-Belgian border, French prosecutors said.

Late on Thursday he also confessed to murdering 18-year-old Celine Saison and 13-year-old Manyana, who disappeared in France in 2000 and 2001 and whose corpses were found in Belgium.

0livier had also told investigators where the au pair's body is supposed to be buried.

"She has indicated that the body was buried not far from Sart Custinne, in the judicial area covered by Dinant," regional prosecutor Lynden told reporters, adding however the area was vague and would not yet be unearthed.

The girl, who disappeared in 1993, has not yet been identified by investigators. But she was probably aged around 16 and a French-speaker, he added.

Fourniret has been in Belgian custody since June 2003 on suspicion of abduction of minors and sexual misconduct.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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