French police dig up serial killer homes for clues

6th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 6 (AFP) - Police Tuesday stepped up their search for more victims of a carpenter who may turn out to be one of France's worst recent serial killers, while a separate case against a suspect in the deaths of two girls and a woman also expanded.

PARIS, July 6 (AFP) - Police Tuesday stepped up their search for more victims of a carpenter who may turn out to be one of France's worst recent serial killers, while a separate case against a suspect in the deaths of two girls and a woman also expanded.

The shock in France over the separate probes has deepened with the realisation that both suspects - Michel Fourniret, dubbed the "Monster of the Ardennes" after his admission that he killed nine people, and Pierre "Crazy Pierrot" Bodein, held over the killing of a 14-year-old girl in the east of the country - were ex-convicts supposedly under psychiatric supervision at the times the crimes were committed.

That revelation prompted the French government Tuesday to announce the creation of a commission that would look at ways of improving psychiatric treatment of released prisoners who may become recidivist sexual predators.

"In a certain number of cases, we can't just let them free like that, without either compulsory treatment or admitting such people to a psychiatric hospital," Justice Minister Dominique Perben told RTL radio.

The announcement came as authorities furthered their investigation into Fourniret's killing spree carried out in France and Belgium.

Police Tuesday searched two properties west of Paris, in the town of Clairefontaine, owned by Fourniret's second wife, one of which was Fourniret's home between 1966 and 1982.

Officers dug up the soil at one of the properties and prevented access to the other, but left hours later without saying they had found anything.

Fourniret, 62, has admitted killing eight girls and women and one man in Belgium and France between 1987 and 2001, and coldly described the rape and murder of several of his victims.

At the weekend, he was brought from Belgium, where he is being detained, and led police to the bodies of two of his victims on the grounds of another former home, in northern France.

He confessed after being incriminated by his wife, Monique Olivier, who feared a conviction similar to the 30-year-sentence handed down to the spouse of infamous Belgian paedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux last month. She is under arrest in Belgium on charges of being his accomplice.

Investigators said Monday they were re-examining 30 other unsolved disappearances and murders to determine whether there are any links to the "Monster of the Ardennes", whose nickname comes from a forested border region between France and Belgium where many of his confessed crimes occurred.

Belgian police said Sunday they were also 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.

Belgian newspapers also reported that Fournier had been arrested four times between 1996 and 2001 but released each time because of lack of proof.

A French prosecutor, Yves Charpenel, said Tuesday that authorities were considering bringing all the murder investigations in both countries together under a French investigating judge.

"We have jurisdiction over everything on the French side, including the murders of the young Belgian girls in Belgium, because they were committed by a Frenchman," he said.

He added that a European warrant had been issued asking for Fourniret's extradition but that in the meantime French and Belgian judges were cooperating and dividing the workload.

Fourniret received a seven-year sentence in 1987 from a French court for rape and indecent assault of minors but 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.

The revulsion in France over Fourniret grew bigger with developments in another case in the east of the country, where the bodies of two girls, aged 11 and 14, and a 38-year-old woman have been found in forest streams.

In that matter, Bodein, a 57-year-old who has spent virtually all his adult life in prison or in psychiatric wards for violent crimes including rape, has been linked to two of the deaths from blood traces found in his car.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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