Victim's mother visits French 'serial killer'burial ground

8th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

DONCHERY, France, July 8 (AFP) - The mother of one of at least nine people believed killed by a French serial killer nicknamed the "Ogre of the Ardennes" on Thursday made an emotional visit to the spot where the remains of her young daughter was dug up.

DONCHERY, France, July 8 (AFP) - The mother of one of at least nine people believed killed by a French serial killer nicknamed the "Ogre of the Ardennes" on Thursday made an emotional visit to the spot where the remains of her young daughter was dug up.

Marie-Noelle Bouzet spent a few minutes in the grounds of the chateau on the Franco-Belgian border where the skeleton of Elisabeth Brichet, her 12-year-old Belgian daughter who was kidnapped in March 1989, was uncovered.

She left in the company of French officials without making any comment to the media.

Police last Saturday uncovered the remains of Elisabeth and those of a 22-year-old French student who was abducted in December the same year, Jeanne-Marie Desramault, from the property in Donchery following a confession by the man who used to live there, Frenchman Michel Fourniret.

Fourniret, a 62-year-old carpenter who was arrested in Belgium in June last year for abduction of minors and sexual misconduct, has been accused by his wife of killing 10 people in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001.

He has admitted to nine of the murders - those of eight women and girls and of one man - and is being held in Belgium while French and Belgian investigators search for evidence of more victims.

Autopsies on the bodies of Elisabeth and Jeanne-Marie began Thursday and were expected to continue through to Friday as French authorities seek to formally identify them and establish the causes of death - the latter task made more difficult given the fact that they were no more than skeletons.

Fourniret was questioned again Thursday and has another interrogation by French police scheduled in the next few days, but thus far has not confessed to any more crimes.

His wife, Monique Olivier, 55, turned him in last month, reportedly fearing that she could face the same fate as the 30-year prison sentence given the spouse of Marc Dutroux, Belgium's notorious paedophile and multiple murderer convicted days earlier.

She is being held on charges of helping Fourniret abduct his victims. Prosecutors say that in some of the cases, she went with Fourniret on his "hunting trips for virgins" and helped assuage their suspicions.

The carpenter, whom European media have dubbed the "Monster of the Ardennes" or the "Ogre of the Ardennes" after the forested border region where some of his victims were buried, has coldly described how he raped and murdered many of the girls and women he kidnapped.

He also said he shot a French male motorist in a rest area for money, and the wife of a fellow inmate he met while in prison in the late 1980s for raping children. Fourniret met his own wife in prison, while she was visiting another detainee.

Most of the confessed crimes took place prior to 1991.

The last victims he confessed to murdering were Celine Saison, an 18-year-old French schoolgirl who went missing in May 2000, and Manyana Thumpong, a 13-year-old French girl who disappeared a year later and whose body was found on the Belgian side of the border in 2002.

Fourniret has denied his wife's allegation that in 1993 he killed a young blonde au pair the couple supposedly hired but who has not been identified nor apparently listed as missing.

He has persistently told police he did not kill anyone between 1990 and 2000, but investigators remain sceptical, believing he is banking on the 10-year statute of limitations in France to escape trial for all but the last two murders. Belgium has a 15-year statute of limitations.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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