Stéphane Bourgoin

Stéphane Bourgoin (born 14 March 1953)[1] is a French true crime writer. He presented himself as an expert on serial killers for many years, until he admitted in 2020 that he had lied about many of his claimed experiences.[2][3]

Stéphane Bourgoin
Bourgoin in 2011
Bourgoin in 2011
GenreTrue crime
SubjectSerial killers


Stéphane Bourgoin was born in Paris on 14 March 1953,[1] one of four children of Jean Bourgoin [fr], a military engineer. He was expelled from high school three times and does not hold any diploma.[4]

Bourgoin claimed to have moved to the United States in the early 1970s, where he allegedly found his then-girlfriend murdered, raped and mutilated by a serial killer in 1976 in Los Angeles. He said that the event led him to try to understand what goes on in the mind of serial killers.[5] In 2020, however, Bourgoin confessed that the story was in fact an invention drawn from the case of Susan Bickrest, murdered at age 24 by serial killer Gerald Stano in 1975.[6][7]


Bourgoin has written 75 books and produced dozens of documentaries,[2] with his books selling thousands of copies in France.[7][8] He was regarded as France's best known serial killer expert. He occasionally lectured police on the subject,[6][9] and critiqued media depictions of serial killers.[10]

Some of his thousands of Facebook followers formed a group to more thoroughly investigate Bourgoin's stories, and found that many appeared to have been invented or plagiarized.[5] They published their findings in 2019, and after French media covered the issue Bourgoin confessed; in 2021 he told a Guardian reporter that he had in fact met only 30 rather than 77 serial killers. In response to the scandal, Bourgoin was dropped by his publishers and producers.[3]


  1. ^ a b Devos, Caroline (20 May 2020). "Stéphane Bourgoin, l'homme qui parlait aux serial killers" [Stéphane Bourgoin, the man who spoke to serial killers]. La Nouvelle République du Centre-Ouest (in French). Archived from the original on 2 April 2022. Pendant quarante ans, Stéphane Bourgoin a sillonné la France et écumé les plateaux de télévision pour diffuser sa science des serial killers. Mais récemment, l'expert a finalement reconnu avoir inventé une partie de son parcours.
  2. ^ a b Guy, Jack; Berteau, Benjamin; Stuber, Sophie (14 May 2020). "French serial killer expert admits his career is built on lies". CNN. Archived from the original on 14 May 2020. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b Sayare, Scott (9 November 2021). "What lies beneath: the secrets of France's top serial killer expert". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Lanez, Émilie (17 May 2020). "Stéphane Bourgoin serial menteur? Dans Match, il passe aux aveux" [Stéphane Bourgoin serial liar? In Match, he confesses]. Paris Match (in French).
  5. ^ a b Collins, Lauren (4 April 2022). "The Unravelling of an Expert on Serial Killers". Retrieved 11 May 2022. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Stéphane Bourgoin, confessions d'un mythomane en série". Le Parisien. 13 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b Flood, Alison (13 May 2020). "French serial-killer expert admits serial lies, including murder of imaginary wife". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  8. ^ Adejobi, Alicia (14 May 2020). "French serial killer author confesses to lying about imaginary wife's murder and admits he needs therapy". Metro. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  9. ^ Bremner, Charles (13 May 2020). "Serial killer expert Stéphane Bourgoin made up his entire life history". The Times. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  10. ^ Degbe, Esther (16 August 2019). "La série Mindhunter est-elle réaliste? L'expert Stéphane Bourgoin répond" [Is the Mindhunter series realistic? Expert Stéphane Bourgoin answers]. The Huffington Post (in French). Retrieved 14 May 2020.