French cou­ple on trial in seven sex slay­ings

‘Ogre of the Ar­denne’ boasted of be­ing ‘far bet­ter’ than Bel­gian se­rial killer


He is a be­spec­ta­cled, chess-play­ing lover of lit­er­a­ture, she a quiet, de­voted wife. But this seem­ingly or­di­nary cou­ple made a sor­did pact that she would help him find vir­gins to rape if he killed her first hus­band, ac­cord­ing to prose­cu­tors.

Sit­ting side by side in court from Thurs­day, Michel Fourniret and his wife Monique Olivier will hear charges that he killed seven young women or girls and that she helped carry out one mur­der and was com­plicit in four other crimes.

Fourniret, 65, dubbed the “Ogre of the Ar­dennes” by Euro­pean me­dia, has shown no re­morse for his al­leged crimes, say prose­cu­tors, while one girl who es­caped his clutches said he boasted he was “far bet­ter” than the no­to­ri­ous Bel­gian pedophile 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 of her hus­band,” whose ob­ses­sion with vir­gin­ity seems to have been the main fac­tor in his al­leged crimes.

Fourniret be­gan life on April 4, 1942 in Sedan, just 30 kilo­me­tres from where he is now be­ing tried in CharlevilleMezieres near the Bel­gian border.

Lit­tle is known of his child­hood but he is be­lieved to have served as a young man with the French army in what was then French Al­ge­ria. He later be­came a ma­chine op­er­a­tor and worked over the years as car­pen­ter, elec­tri­cian and 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 Ar­dennes re­gion of north­east­ern France and was or­dered to seek psy­cho­log­i­cal help.

His first wife, and the mother of his first child, di­vorced him af­ter that rul­ing.

He car­ried on com­mit­ting crimes of a sex­ual na­ture un­til in 1984 he was ar­rested for at­tack­ing a young wo­man and placed in de­ten­tion while he awaited trial. 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 a crim­i­nal pact: if he killed her first hus­band, whom she said had abused her, she would help him find young vir­gins so he could ful­fil his fan­tasies. He never kept his side of the prom­ise. In Oc­to­ber 1987, Olivier was wait­ing out­side the prison in the Paris re­gion when 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 play a 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 and asked her for di­rec­tions, and then per­suaded her to get into their van and show them the way. She was ab­ducted and mur­dered.

Olivier’s pres­ence in the ve­hi­cle, later al­legedly some­times with her baby son, was aimed at al­lay­ing sus­pi­cion.

They at one point went to live in a chateau — where bod­ies of girls were later dis­cov­ered — near the Bel­gian border which Fourniret re­port­edly bought with money he stole from a bankrob­ber he met in jail.

The ap­par­ently nor­mal cou­ple con­tin­ued ab­duct­ing women with var­i­ous ruses un­til 2003, when a girl Fourniret tried to kid­nap in Bel­gium es­caped and raised the alarm.

He was ar­rested and con­fessed to sev­eral mur­ders af­ter Olivier be­trayed him and spilled the beans to Bel­gian po­lice.

She was re­port­edly afraid she could get a sim­i­lar heavy prison sen­tence to the 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 they un­dergo their trial.



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