Monique Olivier, the widow of Michel Fourniret, referred to as the “Ogre of the Ardennes,” is currently on trial for her involvement in a series of murders dating back several decades. On Wednesday, Olivier, 75, acknowledged her role in these crimes during the trial in Nanterre, near Paris. Her husband, who faced charges of abduction, rape, and murder, passed away in 2021 before his trial could proceed.
The trial, which began on Tuesday, has drawn significant attention due to the notorious nature of the crimes. Olivier, wearing a white sweater, admitted to her involvement on the trial’s second day. Her charges include aiding and abetting the kidnapping and murder of two young women – Marie-Angele Domece, who vanished at 18 in 1988, and 20-year-old British national Joanna Parrish in 1990. Additionally, Olivier faces charges of complicity in the 2003 disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin. Despite extensive searches, the bodies of Domece and Mouzin have not been recovered.
Olivier’s demeanor remained composed as she listened to Francis Nachbar, the prosecutor from the couple’s 2008 trial, testify. Nachbar, now retired, recalled Olivier’s interrogations by Belgian investigators in 2004, expressing bewilderment at her duplicity. Fourniret’s arrest in Belgium in 2003 marked a turning point in the investigation.
On the trial’s first day, Olivier claimed she was manipulated by her late husband to participate in his crimes, denying any criminal agreement between them. Despite her regrets expressed on Tuesday, Olivier had already been convicted twice for aiding and abetting Fourniret’s crimes. She received a life sentence in 2008 and could potentially face another in the current trial.
Her previous convictions include a 20-year sentence in 2018 for her role in the murder of Farida Hammiche, the wife of one of Fourniret’s former cellmates. Olivier’s history traces back to the early 1980s when she fled a violent first marriage, eventually becoming Fourniret’s pen pal while he was imprisoned for rape. Their alleged agreement was for Olivier to find virgins for Fourniret to rape in exchange for him killing her first husband, a plan he never executed.
The couple’s first known victim was Isabelle Laville, 17, in 1987. According to BBC reports, Olivier lured Laville into her van under the pretense of needing directions. Fourniret later joined them, leading to the rape and murder of Laville. Over 16 years, the couple was involved in the abduction and murder of at least eight girls and young women. Their criminal activities ceased in 2003 when a 13-year-old girl escaped Fourniret’s kidnapping attempt, leading to their arrest.
BBC listed Fourniret’s known victims, including Isabelle Laville, Fabienne Leroy, Jeanne-Marie Desramault, Elisabeth Brichet, Natacha Danais, Celine Saison, Mananya Thumphong, Farida Hammiche, Marie-Angèle Domèce, Joanna Parrish, and Estelle Mouzin. This trial sheds light on a dark chapter of criminal history, with Olivier at its center.