Trial of serial killers opens in France

March 27th, 2008 - 6:33 pm ICT by admin  

Paris, March 27 (DPA) The trial of Michel Fourniret, suspected of being one of the most lethal serial killers in recent history of France, and his wife opened Thursday in the northern city of Charleville-Mezieres. The 65-year-old Fourniret is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing seven young girls in France and Belgium between the years 1987 and 2003. He has also been placed under investigation for two other, similar murders.

His 59-year-old wife, Monique Olivier, is charged with one murder and complicity in several of the other killings. If convicted, the pair - dubbed the “diabolical couple” by French media - face maximum sentences of life in prison.

Fourniret has confessed to killing eight girls, while Olivier has said that he murdered 11. However, investigators are looking into up to 50 other killings in France that might have been committed by the self-described “hunter of virgins” and his wife.

According to letters the couple exchanged in 1987, when Fourniret was imprisoned for sexual abuse, the two formed what prosecutors called a “criminal pact” that same year.

In exchange for killing her first husband, whom she described as “jealous” and “violent”, Olivier vowed to aid Fourniret in his pursuit of young, virgin girls.

Less than two months after he left prison in October 1987, the couple found their first victim, a 17-year-old girl named Isabelle Laville, who Fourniret raped, strangled and dumped into an abandoned well.

Police in central France found her remains in July 2006 thanks to indications given them by Fourniret.

The couple was finally arrested in June 2003, in Beauraing, Belgium, when a 13-year-old girl they had abducted managed to slip out of the van in which she was held and alerted the police.

When arrested, Fourniret boasted, “I’m worse than Dutroux”, a reference to Marc Dutroux, a Belgian serial killer convicted of having kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused six girls, ranging in age from 8 to 19, four of whom he murdered.

The trial is expected to run until the end of May.

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