Home News French ‘serial killer’ couple dazzle with their ordinariness

French ‘serial killer’ couple dazzle with their ordinariness

Published on 26/03/2008

   CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES, France, March 26, 2008 - He is a bespectacled,chess-playing lover of literature, she a quiet, devoted wife. But thisseemingly ordinary couple made a sordid pact that she would help him findvirgins to rape if he killed her first husband, according to prosecutors.   Sitting side by side in court from Thursday, Michel Fourniret and his wifeMonique Olivier will hear charges that he killed seven young women or girlsand that she helped carry out one murder and was complicit in four othercrimes.   Fourniret, 65, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes" by European media, hasshown no remorse for his alleged crimes, say prosecutors, while one girl whoescaped his clutches said he boasted he was "far better" than the notoriousBelgian paedophile serial killer Marc Dutroux.   He admitted he needed to go hunting for a virgin at least twice a year,prosecutors said.   Olivier, 59, one prosecutor said, is "fearful, very much under the spell ofher husband," whose obsession with virginity seems to have been the mainfactor in his alleged crimes.   Fourniret began life on April 4, 1942 in Sedan, just 30 kilometres (20miles) from where he is now being tried in Charleville-Mezieres near theBelgian border.   Little is known of his childhood but he is believed to have served as ayoung man with the French army in what was then French Algeria. He laterbecame a machine operator and worked over the years as carpenter, electricianand even a supervisor in a school.   His sexual crimes began in the 1960s, when as a 25-year-old he was given an eight-month suspended sentence for attacking a girl in his native Ardennesregion of northeastern France and was ordered to seek psychological help.   His first wife, and the father of his first child, divorced him after thatruling.   He carried on committing crimes of a sexual nature until in 1984 he wasarrested for attacking a young woman and placed in detention while he awaitedtrial. His second wife left him.   While in custody he placed an ad in a newspaper looking for a pen pal.Monique Olivier, a separated mother of two children, responded, and thus began their alleged 15-year killing orgy.   According to letters seized by investigators, the couple concluded acriminal pact: if he killed her first husband, whom she said had abused her, she would help him find young virgins so he could fulfill his fantasies.   He never kept his side of the promise.   In October 1987 Olivier was waiting outside the prison in the Paris regionwhen Fourniret walked free.   They went to live together south of Paris, married and had a child.   The charges against them in the current trial state that Olivier would playa key part in her husband's schemes to abduct young women. Their first attack,barely two months after his release, set the tone for the others.   The couple allegedly drove up alongside 17-year-old Isabelle Laville andasked her for directions, and then persuaded her to get into their van andshow them the way. She was abducted and murdered.   Olivier's presence in the vehicle, later allegedly sometimes with her babyson, was aimed at allaying suspicion.   They at one point went to live in a chateau -- where bodies of girls werelater discovered -- near the Belgian border which Fourniret reportedly boughtwith money he stole from a bankrobber he met in jail.   The apparently normal couple continued abducting women with various rusesuntil 2003, when a girl Fourniret tried to kidnap in Belgium escaped andraised the alarm.   He was arrested and confessed to several murders after Olivier betrayed himand spilled the beans to Belgian police.   She was reportedly afraid she could get a similar heavy prison sentence tothe one given to the wife and accomplice of the killer Marc Dutroux.   The pair are now being held in the same prison in Charleville as theyundergo their trial.