NewsSerial killer 'Ogre of the Ardennes' dies aged 79

Serial killer ‘Ogre of the Ardennes’ dies aged 79

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Paris, France: The “Ogre of the Ardennes,” a French serial killer who admitted to murdering 11 people, mostly girls and young women, died on Monday at the age of 79, according to Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz.

Michel Fourniret died at the La Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, where he was admitted on April 28 from the nearby Fresnes jail. He was serving two life sentences for eight murders.

He admitted to 11 murders, including that of British student Joanna Parrish, but he has also been connected to a number of other disappearances, the majority of which occurred in the Ardennes area, which lies on the French-Belgian border.

Estelle Mouzin, a nine-year-old girl who he raped and murdered months before he was apprehended in Belgium in 2003, was one of his victims.

In March 2020, Fourniret finally confessed to the girl’s murder, but her body has yet to be discovered.

The former forest warden had been one of Europe’s most infamous serial killers by the time he was apprehended.

He also boasted of being a “much better” murderer than Marc Dutroux, a sadistic Belgian pedophile.

According to the Parisien newspaper, he was admitted to the hospital with a heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease, and doctors had placed him in an induced coma.

Heitz announced that his death will be investigated, as is customary in France when a prisoner dies.

Those hoping to see Fourniret placed on trial for the disappearances of Estelle Mouzin, Parrish, and two other women accused of being among his victims were disappointed when he died.

‘Ogre of the Ardennes’: Timeline of a sex killer

Michel Fourniret, one of Europe’s most notorious serial killers, died in a high-security ward of a Paris hospital Monday aged 79.

For 15 years he roamed eastern France looking for virgins to rape and kill until he was arrested in 2003 and confessed to eight murders.

After more than a decade behind bars, the so-called “Ogre of the Ardennes” began to talk about more killings, including that of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin.

Here is a look back at his macabre trajectory:

The 1960s: Sexual attacks 

In 1967, aged 25, he was handed an eight-month suspended sentence for attacking a girl in his native Ardennes region.

He was arrested again in 1984 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexually assaulting around a dozen young women since 1981.

As he was serving this jail sentence he entered into correspondence with a single mother, Monique Olivier.

He moved in with her on his release in 1987.

1988: First murder 

His known first murder, which he carried out with Olivier, involved a connection he had made while in prison sharing a cell with a bank robber from one of France’s most infamous gangs.

The robber’s wife had asked Fourniret to dig up stolen gold buried in a graveyard. She came with them in their van to give them directions.

Fourniret and Olivier collected the gold but they then strangled the woman and used the loot to buy a chateau.

In 1988 their son was born and a year later the couple married.

2003: Arrest and confession 

They were arrested in Belgium in 2003 after a girl they had kidnapped escaped.

A year later Olivier confessed to police that her husband had killed nine young women. He admitted to eight killings in France and Belgium.

Fourniret told police where to find two bodies buried around the chateau.

Olivier went on to accuse her husband of more murders.

2008: Life sentence 

The pair were tried in France in 2008 and Fourniret was sentenced for life for the murders of all seven of the victims whose bodies had been then found.

Olivier also got life for complicity with no possibility of parole.

2020: Cold cases reopened 

In 2020 the couple — by then divorced — admitted to killing and raping nine-year-old Mouzin on her way home from school near Paris a few months before their arrest in 2003.

In late 2020 police began digging for her remains at a remote spot where Fourniret said he had buried the child. But after weeks of searching, there was no trace of the body.

In failing health, Fourniret was indicted in December for kidnapping and killing 29-year-old Lydie Loge who disappeared in Orne, northwestern France, in 1993.

2021: Death 

Fourniret collapsed in his prison cell on November 20, just two weeks before police were to start their dig looking for Mouzin’s remains.

Detectives were still trying to wring details from him about his long list of crimes.

He recovered enough to return to jail before being rushed to hospital again last month. He died Monday in a high-security ward of a Paris hospital aged 79.

COVER IMAGE VIA TWITTER.

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