French trial ‘likely’ for cross-border murders

5th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, July 4 (AFP) - A Frenchman who has admitted to police to killing nine people including six girls will probably stand trial in France because most of his alleged victims were French, lawyers said Sunday.

BRUSSELS, July 4 (AFP) - A Frenchman who has admitted to police to killing nine people including six girls will probably stand trial in France because most of his alleged victims were French, lawyers said Sunday.

Michel Fourniret, 62, Saturday led police to the bodies of a 12-year-old girl and 22-year-old woman he said he had killed and buried 15 years earlier in the grounds of his former house in France near the border with Belgium.

The two were among eight women and girls and one man Fourniret has confessed to having killed between 1987 and 2001.

Fourniret has been held in Belgium since June 2003 for abduction of minors and sexual misconduct.

"It is highly likely he will be tried in France," said lawyer Jean-Maurice Arnould, representing Elisabeth Brichet, one of the two found on Saturday: "Most of the crimes were committed in France."

He said he saw no reason against holding a trial in France: "It seems logical to me that everything should be pulled together."

Fourniret and his estranged wife have been remanded in custody in Belgium charged with kidnapping and unlawfully imprisoning Brichet in 1989.

He was expected to be charged with murder after the discovery of the girls' remains, and was set to appear before a Belgian court Tuesday.

He also has to answer to a charge of attempting to kidnap a teenage girl in Belgium last year. She escaped and led police to him and thus to his arrest, according to prosecutors.

Fourniret's wife Monique Olivier has also accused him of killing an au pair girl the couple hired in Belgium in 1993, but he denies having committed this murder.

The wife has told police the remains of the as yet unidentified au pair girl were buried near a village in the Ardennes hills on the Belgian side of the border.

In a startling case that has unfolded with dramatic speed, Fourniret confessed last week to the nine killings then offered to help police dig up the remains of two of his victims at the chateau he once owned.

He has been dubbed "the French Dutroux" by media because his confessions emerged just a week after Belgian's most-hated man Marc Dutroux received a life sentence for a horrific series of rapes and murders of teenage girls that traumatised Belgian society.

Both he and his wife were brought to the Sautou chateau Saturday, where about 200 police equipped with ground-digging excavators hunted for the victims' bodies in areas indicated by Fourniret.

 

© AFP

Subject: French news

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