Michel Paul Fourniret (4 April 1942 – 10 May 2021)[2] was a French serial killer who confessed to killing 12 people in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2003. After he was arrested in June 2003 for the attempted kidnapping of a teenage girl in Ciney,[3] Fourniret confessed in 2004 to killing nine people — eight females and one male[4] — having been informed on by his then-wife,[5] Monique Pierrette Olivier (born 31 October 1948).[6] Fourniret was convicted of seven of these murders on 28 May 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole, while Olivier was given life with a minimum term of 28 years for complicity.[7]

Michel Fourniret
Fourniret c. 1992
Michel Paul Fourniret

(1942-04-04)4 April 1942
Died10 May 2021(2021-05-10) (aged 79)
Paris, France
Other namesOgre of the Ardennes
SpouseMonique Olivier (1989–2010)[1]
Conviction(s)Murder (8 counts)
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment without the possibility of parole
Span of crimes
CountryFrance, Belgium
Date apprehended
26 June 2003

In February 2018, Fourniret confessed to killing two more women.[8] On 16 November 2018, Fourniret and Olivier were convicted of the murder of Farida Hammiche, the last of the eight women that Fourniret confessed to killing in 2004. Fourniret was given a second life sentence and Olivier was sentenced to a further 20 years of imprisonment.[9] In March 2020, Fourniret confessed to killing Estelle Mouzin, who disappeared from Guermantes in 2003.[10]

Early life edit

Fourniret was born in Sedan, France, the son of a metal worker and a homemaker. Acquaintances remembered him as a quiet, intelligent child who enjoyed chess and classical music. He would later claim to have been sexually abused as a child by his mother.[11] As an adult, he drifted through a series of menial jobs, including forestry worker and school supervisor.[12]

Fourniret was first arrested in 1966 for sexually assaulting a young girl.[11][13]

While imprisoned in 1984 for sexually assaulting another five young girls, Fourniret started corresponding with Monique Olivier via a prison pen pal programme. He wrote to her of his fantasies of raping and murdering virginal girls; she responded that she would "help" him fulfil those fantasies if he killed her husband, although he never committed this murder.[11][14] After he was released from prison in 1987, they began a relationship. Soon afterwards, he not only raped but went on to murder young girls, with Olivier as his accomplice.[12]

Murders edit

On 11 December 1987, Fourniret and Olivier drove, in separate vehicles, to Auxerre. Seeing 17-year-old Isabelle Lavillewhom the couple had seen a day or two earlier and were targetingwalking home from school, Olivier stopped to ask Laville to join her in the car and give her directions, which Laville agreed to do. Driving down the road, Olivier reached the spot where Fourniret was standing with his car, pretending it had broken down. After Olivier, as planned, pretended to offer him a lift, he got into her car. Fourniret choked Laville with a piece of rope before Olivier sedated her with Rohypnol. The couple brought the girl to their home in Saint-Cyr-les-Colons, where Fourniret raped and strangled her. They threw Laville's body down a disused well in Bussy-en-Othe.[15][16] Her remains were recovered from the well more than eighteen years later, on 11 July 2006.[17]

In March 1988, Fourniret was contacted by 30-year-old Farida Hammiche. She was the wife of Jean-Pierre Hellegouarch, an imprisoned bank robber with whom Fourniret had shared a cell prior to the latter's release in October 1987. She asked Fourniret to help her unearth a haul from a cemetery in Fontenay-en-Parisis, which had been stolen by members of the Gang des postiches. After Fourniret and Hammiche managed to retrieve the haul, which consisted of gold ingots and coins, Hammiche gave Fourniret a share worth 500,000 francs for helping her dig it up and hiding it in her apartment in Vitry-sur-Seine. On 12 April, aiming to steal Hammiche's share, Fourniret and Olivier lured Hammiche out of her home. They drove her to Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines, where they strangled her and buried her body. The couple then broke into Hammiche’s home and stole the haul. They used the money they made from it to buy a château called the Château du Sautou in Donchery. Hammiche's body was never found.[18]

By August, Olivier was pregnant with Fourniret's baby. On 3 August, the couple drove to a supermarket in Châlons-sur-Marne (now Châlons-en-Champagne), and encountered 20-year-old Fabienne Leroy in the car park. With Olivier feigning illness, the couple asked Leroy to join them in their car and give them directions to a doctor's surgery. After Leroy got in, the couple drove to a forest near the military camp of Mourmelon-le-Grand. Fourniret ordered Olivier to look at Leroy's hymen to see if it was still intact, but Olivier refused. After raping Leroy, Fourniret shot her in the chest.[19][20][21]

In January 1989, Fourniret met 21-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramault on the evening train to Charleville-Mézières. The two conversed before arriving in Charleville, where Desramault was staying at a convent. Desramault met Fourniret and Olivier, who had assumed false identities, at the train station again on 18 March, and the couple invited Desramault to come to their house in Floing – an offer she accepted – and Fourniret promised he would drive her home afterwards. After they got to Floing, Fourniret asked Desramault if she was a virgin, and she told him she was not and that she had a boyfriend. Enraged, he attacked her. She fought back as he attempted to rape her, and as she attempted to escape, the couple gagged her with adhesive bandages before Fourniret strangled her. Fourniret and Olivier drove to Donchery and buried Desramault's body in the garden of the Château du Sautou.[22][23][24]

Fourniret and Olivier married in July 1989.[25] On the afternoon of 20 December, they drove across the Franco-Belgian border to Saint-Servais, Namur, with their one-year-old son. Fourniret saw 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet walk to a friend's house, and waited outside for her until she left to walk the short distance home just before 7:00 p.m. He asked her to give him directions to a doctor's surgery for his son. She agreed to do so, and the couple drove back to Floing with her. When Fourniret undressed the girl, he saw that she was menstruating, so Olivier cleaned Brichet's genitals. The next day, the couple took Brichet to the château, where Fourniret strangled her after a failed attempt to suffocate her with a plastic bag. Her body was buried in the garden of the château, near to that of Jeanne-Marie Desramault.[26][27][28] There were a number of reported sightings of Brichet, in Belgium and abroad, in the years following her disappearance, and a number of people were suspected by police of abducting her, including another serial killer, Marc Dutroux.[29][30] After Dutroux's arrest in 1996, Brichet's mother Marie-Noëlle Bouzet helped to organise the White March in honour of Belgium's missing and murdered children.[31] The remains of Brichet and Desramault were exhumed from the gardens of the Château du Sautou on 3 July 2004, after Fourniret and Olivier confessed to the killings.[32]

The final known murder Fourniret committed with Olivier's help took place on 21 November 1990 near France's western coast. The couple drove to a shopping centre in Rezé after leaving court in Nantes, where they had been convicted of burglary. They saw Natacha Danais, a 13-year-old local girl, walking through the car park towards her home, having been sent to fetch her mother's forgotten purse. The couple lured Danais into the van, asking her for directions. After driving to a secluded area near the coast, Fourniret stabbed Danais twice in the chest with a screwdriver and strangled her before leaving her body on the beach.[33][34] Later investigation suggested that the girl's body was raped after the murder.[35] Eight days later, Jean Groix, a neighbour of Danais's family, was arrested after a white van belonging to him matched the description of the van that Danais' sister had seen her get into from across the shopping centre's car park at the time she disappeared. Groix was found to be lodging suspected members of the ETA in his home; police suspected that Danais had found out about this and that he killed her for that reason. Two months later, Groix committed suicide in his prison cell. He was reported to have been unable to bear the burden of having been accused of murder.[36][37][38]

The Fourniret family moved to Sart-Custinne, Gedinne, Belgium, in the early 1990s. Fourniret admitted that he committed two more murders in France between 2000 and 2001, his first in nine-and-a-half-years. He drove alone across the Franco-Belgian border to Charleville-Mézières on 16 May 2000 and lured 18-year-old Céline Saison, who was on her way home from school, into his van in the late afternoon. Driving with her back to Belgium, he raped her before strangling her with a rope and dumping her body in a forest in Sugny, Vresse-sur-Semois.[39] Saison's skeletal remains were discovered there by mushroom pickers on 22 July 2000.[40]

On 5 May 2001, Fourniret drove back to Sedan and met Mananya Thumpong, a 13-year-old girl of Thai origin whom he had met and given a lift home a few weeks earlier, outside the local library. He invited her to come to his house and play with his son. Accepting this offer, Thumpong climbed into the van and was driven to Nollevaux, Paliseul, where Fourniret strangled her.[41][42][43] Thumpong's remains were found on 1 March 2002, having been devoured almost entirely by wild animals.[44][45]

Arrest, trial and imprisonment edit

Fourniret was arrested at his home in Sart-Custinne, Belgium, on 26 June 2003 after a failed attempt to kidnap a 13-year-old girl. He and Olivier were interrogated extensively but to no avail.[13] A year later, Olivier told the police that her husband had killed a number of people since 1987. Fourniret confessed to killing eight women — aged between 12 and 30 — and a man who has never been identified. The bodies of four of the identified victims had been discovered in France and Belgium between 1988 and 2002.

Olivier was arrested, as well, and she and Fourniret were extradited to France, where they helped police find the bodies of three of the four missing victims over the next two years. The trial took place in Charleville-Mézières between 27 March[46] and 28 May 2008. Fourniret was found guilty of the murders of all seven of the victims whose bodies had been found. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Olivier was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 28 years.[47] Fourniret and Olivier were also ordered to pay 1.5 million in moral compensation to family members of the victims.[48] Neither appealed their sentences.

Fourniret admitted to eight murders prior to his trial in 2008. He was convicted of seven of these and sentenced to life in prison.[49]

In November 2023, the trial of his former wife and accomplice Monique Oliver for three murders, including Joanna Parrish and Estelle Mouzin, began [50][51]

Confessions edit

The bodies of two victims, Elisabeth Brichet and Jeanne-Marie Desramault, were found buried in the gardens of the Château du Sautou in Donchery in July 2004. Fourniret and Olivier bought the château in the late 1980s using stolen money.

In February 2018, Fourniret confessed to killing two more women in Auxerre: Marie-Angèle Domèce, an 18-year-old disabled woman, in July 1988, and Joanna Parrish, a 20-year-old British student, in May 1990.[8]

In March 2020, Fourniret confessed to killing Estelle Mouzin, who disappeared from Guermantes in January 2003.[10]

Known victims edit

# Victim Age Disappeared Body found
1 Isabelle Laville 17[52] 11 December 1987
11 July 2006
2 Farida Hammiche 30[18] 12 April 1988
Not found
3 Marie-Angèle Domèce 18[53] 8 July 1988
Not found
4 Fabienne Leroy 20[54] 3 August 1988
4 August 1988
5 Jeanne-Marie Desramault 19[52] 18 March 1989
3 July 2004
6 Elisabeth Brichet 12[55] 20 December 1989
3 July 2004
7 Joanna Parrish 20[56] 16 May 1990
17 May 1990
8 Natacha Danais 13[52] 21 November 1990
24 November 1990
9 Céline Saison 18[57] 16 May 2000
22 July 2000
10 Mananya Thumpong 13[58] 5 May 2001
1 March 2002
11 Estelle Mouzin 9[59] 9 January 2003
Not found

  indicates victims of whose murders Fourniret was convicted.

Other supposed crimes edit

Two French journalists have suggested that Fourniret killed former Minister for Labour Robert Boulin (who was involved in a real estate scandal at the time), based on a letter Fourniret wrote to Olivier.[60]

Christian Ranucci was one of the last people executed in France, having been convicted of the abduction and murder, committed on 3 June 1974, of Marie-Dolorès Rambla, aged eight. There were suspicions that Ranucci might not have been the killer, having confessed and later retracted his confession. It was suggested that Fourniret may have been involved, as Fourniret was thought to be in the area at the time and had virtually the same car as Ranucci. Careful analysis by an expert of courtroom photographs taken during Ranucci's March 1976 trial, however, suggests that the courtroom observer in the photographs could not have been Fourniret who, unlike this man, did not yet wear glasses and lacked a chin cleft.[61] Furthermore, Fourniret denied having been in the Marseille area when the crime took place on 3 June 1974, claiming he was working in Paris.

Legacy edit

Rachida Dati, the then French Minister for Justice, who advocated legal reforms in France, wanted a more relaxed attitude to preventive custody and parole under supervision. She was heavily criticized by the judiciary.[62]

Death edit

Fourniret died on 10 May 2021 at the age of 79 after being admitted to hospital with respiratory problems.[63]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ à 07h00, Par Le 20 janvier 2011 (20 January 2011). "Les époux Fourniret ont divorcé". leparisien.fr.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Vergès, Jean-Pierre (2008). Les Fourniret, meurtres à quatre mains. Vannes, Brittany, France: L'Archipel. p. 25. ISBN 978-2-84187-967-0.
  3. ^ Evrard, Tom (11 March 2008). "Enlevée à 13 ans par Fourniret". L'Avenir (in French). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  4. ^ "De slachtoffers van Michel Fourniret". Trouw (in Dutch). 6 July 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. ^ Tourancheau, Patricia (3 July 2004). "Fourniret, "un pervers calculateur et intelligent"". Libération (in French). Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  6. ^ Vergès, Jean-Pierre (2008). Les Fourniret, meurtres à quatre mains. L'Archipel. p. 66. ISBN 978-2-84187-967-0.
  7. ^ "Perpétuité réelle pour Michel Fourniret, 28 ans de sûreté pour Monique Olivier". Libération.fr (in French). Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Le tueur en série Michel Fourniret a avoué les meurtres de deux femmes". Libération.fr (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Michel Fourniret condamné à la perpétuité pour la seconde fois". Le Figaro (in French). 16 November 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Michel Fourniret a reconnu le meurtre d'Estelle Mouzin". Radio France (in French). 7 March 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2020 – via Franceinfo.
  11. ^ a b c Anderson, Paul (17 November 2014). "Michel Fourniret, French serial killer, craved only virgins to rape and murder". Herald Sun. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  12. ^ a b "MICHEL FOURNIRET: OGRES OF THE ARDENNES". Crime+Investigation UK. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  13. ^ a b Korteweg, Ariejan (27 March 2008). "In Dutrouxs shadow, maar net zo pervers". Volkskrant (in Dutch).
  14. ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (28 May 2008). "French court jails serial killer and wife". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Bordenave, Yves (3 April 2008). "Procès Fourniret : le calvaire planifié d'Isabelle Laville, la "honte" de Monique Olivier". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Procès Fourniret – Monique Olivier raconte la mort d'Isabelle Laville". France Soir (in French). 4 February 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Fourniret : sa première victime retrouvée au fond d'un puits". Libération (in French). 12 July 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  18. ^ a b Nicolas, Eric (16 November 2018). "Procès Fourniret : "Michel, ne me tue pas comme ça"". L'Est Republicain (in French). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Le couple Fourniret reconnaît le meurtre de Fabienne Leroy". L'Obs (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  20. ^ "La brutalité du "pacte" des Fourniret glace les assises". Le Figaro (in French). 8 April 2008. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  21. ^ "Le couple Fourniret livre des souvenirs différents de ses crimes communs". Le Monde (in French). 8 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  22. ^ "Jeanne-Marie, prise au piège et martyrisée par Fourniret". Le Figaro (in French). 10 April 2008. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  23. ^ Tourancheau, Patricia (10 April 2008). ""Elle était fraîche et pure, comment se douter de la malice des autres?"". Libération (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Michel Fourniret défie du regard le père de sa troisième victime". Libération (in French). 9 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Le "pacte criminel" du couple Fourniret-Olivier". Le Monde (in French). 26 March 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Fourniret conteste la tentative de viol sur Elisabeth Brichet: regardez les vidéos". RTL Info. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Devant les assises des Ardennes, l'aveu en différé du meurtre d'Elisabeth". Le Monde (in French). 16 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Monique Olivier: "J'ai terminé la toilette"". Libération (in French). 14 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  29. ^ "Élisabeth Brichet : quinze années d'espoirs déçus". L'Avenir (in French). 20 March 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  30. ^ Libre.be, La. "Elisabeth Brichet : quatorze ans d'enquête, de doutes et de suspicions" (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  31. ^ "La marche blanche qui a bouleversé la Belgique : "C'était un grand moment d'émotion"". La Libre (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Deux cadavres au château". La Dépêche du Midi (in French). 4 July 2004. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Fourniret a tué Natacha,13 ans, en sortant du tribunal". Le Figaro (in French). 17 April 2008. ISSN 0182-5852. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Sitôt sortis du tribunal, les Fourniret enlèvent Natacha". Le Parisien (in French). 17 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  35. ^ "Révélations insoutenables au procès de Michel Fourniret". www.20minutes.fr (in French). 18 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  36. ^ Herjean, Michel (31 January 2006). "Qui a tué le Dr Jean Groix et pourquoi est-il mort ?" (in French). Agence Bretagne Presse. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
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  38. ^ "Un voisin se suicide". DH.be (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  39. ^ "Michel Fourniret: "J'ai été à la chasse et j'ai obtenu satisfaction"". Libération (in French). 24 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  40. ^ Petit, Michel (28 January 2000). "Céline serait morte étouffée". DH.be (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  41. ^ Bordenave, Yves (30 April 2008). "La mort de la "petite Asiatique" repérée par Michel Fourniret". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  42. ^ Pierron, Maud (29 April 2008). "Le dernier aveu de Fourniret". Le JDD (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  43. ^ "Procès Fourniret – Dernière semaine d'examen des crimes". France Soir (in French). 27 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  44. ^ "L'ironie des parents de Mananya". La Libre (in French). 29 April 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  45. ^ "La mort de Mananya". DH.be (in French). 2 April 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  46. ^ "French 'serial killer' on trial". BBC. 27 March 2008.
  47. ^ "Life sentence for French killer". BBC News. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  48. ^ Article on the website of De Morgen, published 29 May 2008 (in Dutch)
  49. ^ "Michel Fourniret et Monique Olivier condamnés à la perpétuité". Le Monde (in French). Agence France-Presse. 28 May 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  50. ^ Willsher, Kim (26 November 2023). "Victims of French serial killer face last chance for justice as accomplice of 'Ogre' goes on trial". The Guardian.
  51. ^ "French serial killer's widow, Monique Olivier, convicted for her part in murders". CBS News. 19 December 2023.
  52. ^ a b c "Une terrible mise en accusation". La Libre (in French). 26 March 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  53. ^ "RAPPORT sur le traitement judiciaire d'affaires pénales et la disparition d'archives au Tribunal de Grande Instance d'AUXERRE" (PDF) (in French). MINISTERE DE LA JUSTICE Inspection générale des services judiciaires. March 2002. p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2022. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  54. ^ Durand-Souffland, Stéphane (4 August 2008). "La brutalité du "pacte" des Fourniret glace les assises". Le Figaro (in French).
  55. ^ Jallet, Albert (20 December 2019). "Il y a 30 ans, Elisabeth Brichet disparaissait: "Une torture qui a duré 15 ans"". L'Avenir (in French).
  56. ^ "Affaire Fourniret - Quand les parents de Joanna Parrish offraient une prime pour retrouver l'assassin de leur fille". L'Yonne Républicaine (in French). 4 May 2018.
  57. ^ Ducos, Jean-Marc (5 March 2002). "Il a fallu un piège diabolique pour enlever Céline et Manania". Le Parisien (in French).
  58. ^ Tomasovitch, Geoffroy (23 July 2001). "Je chasse de mon esprit les pires hypothèses". Le Parisien (in French).
  59. ^ Boltanski, Christophe (27 January 2007). "En son absence". Libération (in French).
  60. ^ "Fourniret s'accuse du meurtre de Robert Boulin". France Soir (in French). 20 February 2008.
  61. ^ "Fourniret n'était pas au procès Ranucci". Le Nouvel Observateur (in French). 4 July 2006.
  62. ^ Kerdreux, Gilles (11 November 2007). "Mme Dati affronte un mécontentement croissant sur la carte judiciaire". Le Monde (in French).
  63. ^ "Michel Fourniret: French serial killer dies aged 79". BBC. 10 May 2021.