Trial of Monique Olivier for Complicity in Serial Murders Begins in France

Monique Olivier, left, and her husband Michel Fourniret

Monique Olivier, widow of the late Michel Fourniret, a French serial killer, is set to face trial from Tuesday for her alleged involvement in three murders, including one of a British woman in 1990. Olivier, linked to a series of decades-old crimes, will be tried for her role in the abduction and murder of these individuals.

Michel Fourniret, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 79, was charged with abduction, rape, and murder but died before trial. The accusations against Olivier stem from incidents dating back to 1988, including the disappearance of 18-year-old Marie-Angele Domece from Auxerre and the 1990 case of 20-year-old British woman Joanna Parrish, found in the Yonne river.

Olivier faces charges of aiding and abetting in the kidnapping and murder of these victims. Additionally, she is charged with complicity in the 2003 disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin, whose remains have yet to be discovered despite extensive searches.

The trial, scheduled to last three weeks, will feature witnesses from both France and Belgium, where Fourniret was arrested in 2003. Among the witnesses is Sabine Kheris, the investigating magistrate responsible for Fourniret’s confession. Kheris now leads a newly formed cold cases unit in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, and this trial marks the unit’s first major proceeding.

The French public has long been both horrified and intrigued by the crimes of Fourniret, often referred to as the “ogre of the Ardennes,” referencing the region where he committed many of his crimes. The trial is the culmination of a lengthy legal battle, as noted by Didier Seban, a lawyer representing Estelle’s father, Eric Mouzin. Seban expressed frustration over the fact that Fourniret never stood trial for these crimes, suggesting shortcomings in the investigation.

Monique Herrmann, representing the Domece family, highlighted that despite Fourniret’s request for a trial in 2008, no action was taken. The trial of Olivier, according to Eric Mouzin, falls short of full justice due to the absence of Fourniret. He expressed doubts about the trial’s ability to provide a comprehensive judgment with only Olivier as the defendant.

Olivier, now 75 years old, has been previously convicted twice for assisting her husband in some of his crimes. She became Fourniret’s pen pal while he was in prison for rape and later married him, allegedly agreeing to procure virgins for him to rape in exchange for him murdering her former husband, a plan he never executed. The couple lived together after Fourniret’s release in 1987.

In 2008, Olivier received a life sentence for her involvement in four murders and a rape committed by Fourniret. Later, in 2018, she was sentenced to an additional 20 years for her role in the murder of Farida Hammiche. Olivier significantly altered the case’s trajectory in 2019 by invalidating her husband’s alibi for the day Estelle Mouzin disappeared. Fourniret subsequently admitted to the murders of Parrish and Domece, stating that they would still be alive had they not encountered him.

In 2020, Olivier revealed that Fourniret had kidnapped, raped, and killed Mouzin, supported by the discovery of Mouzin’s DNA on a mattress from the couple’s home. A year later, Olivier admitted her role in this case, confessing to being present when her husband buried Mouzin’s body near a forest in the Ardennes.

The couple’s first known victim was 17-year-old Isabelle Laville, abducted in 1987. For 16 years, Fourniret and Olivier collaborated in the abduction and murder of at least eight girls and young women. Their criminal activities ceased in 2003 when a 13-year-old intended victim escaped, leading to their arrest.

Fourniret’s known victims include 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. The trial of Monique Olivier now brings renewed attention to these unresolved cases, as France seeks closure on these tragic events.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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