France hunts serial killer clues in 30 unsolved cases

5th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 5 (AFP) - French investigators will re-examine 30 unsolved disappearances and murders in order to determine whether there are any links to a Frenchman who has confessed to killing nine people, police said Monday.

PARIS, July 5 (AFP) - French investigators will re-examine 30 unsolved disappearances and murders in order to determine whether there are any links to a Frenchman who has confessed to killing nine people, police said Monday.

Michel Fourniret, 62, has admitted killing eight girls and women and one man in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001. At the weekend, he led police to the bodies of two of his victims on the ground of his former home in France.

The revelations about Fourniret, who could prove to be one of France's most prolific serial killers, come on the heels of several child sex and murder cases that shocked France and the conviction of notorious Belgian paedophile Marc Dutroux.

French police said the new investigations related to "actions attributed to or possibly attributable to Michel Fourniret", but admitted he would likely be cleared in a number of the cases due to the impossibility of the timing.

Fourniret, branded the "Monster of the Ardennes" in the French press, referring to the Franco-Belgian border region where he led police to the bodies Saturday, has coldly described the rape and murder of several of his victims and has shown no remorse, according to prosecutors.

"The fear we have now is that other crimes could now be confessed, could be brought to light and then the series (of murders) could stretch out dangerously," said Belgian prosecutor Cedric Visart de Bocarme.

Belgian police said Sunday they were looking for links between Fourniret and the disappearances of at least 15 other girls over the past 20 years whose bodies have never been found.

In Denmark, local media reported that police were also investigating whether Fourniret could have raped and tried to kill an 11-year-old Danish girl in 1999, based on a sketch of the perpetrator which resembled the Frenchman.

Police were also looking into Fourniret's finances to determine how a carpenter and dining hall worker -- not a forestry warden as first reported, according to Belgian court sources -- could afford to buy a chateau in northern France, where the two bodies were found.

French forensics experts in the southwestern city of Bordeaux were to begin examining the remains on Tuesday, but they were believed to be those of 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet and 22-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramault.

Fourniret's 55-year-old wife Monique Olivier, who has accused her husband of at least 10 murders, is under arrest in Belgium charged with kidnapping and failing to help a person in danger.

Her lawyer Pierre Barthelemy described her Monday as a "passive" bystander who deserves credit for revealing her husband's grisly crimes, saying that investigators had only been able to pin down Fourniret due to her testimony.

"She had a passive attitude. When she set out with her husband, she never imagined that things would end like this. But afterwards, she knew all too well of course, and she bitterly regrets her passivity," Barthelemy told AFP.

"They were late in coming, her revelations, but they were opportune. If she had not spoken out, one can imagine the consequences," he said.

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

He was re-arrested in Belgium in June 2003 for abduction of minors and sexual misconduct. But he only confessed to the string of murders last week, after his estranged wife made her accusations against him.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article