France: Life imprisonment for serial killer Fourniret's ex-wife

The ex-wife of serial killer Michel Fourniret has been sentenced to life in prison in France for her role in the deaths of two women and a girl.

France: Life imprisonment for serial killer Fourniret's ex-wife

The ex-wife of serial killer Michel Fourniret has been sentenced to life in prison in France for her role in the deaths of two women and a girl. “I would like to apologize,” the 75-year-old said in her last word on Tuesday, as broadcaster BFMTV reported from the court in Nanterre near Paris. The court met the prosecution's demand with the sentence; the defense had pleaded for a guilty verdict and a severe sentence.

Fourniret, who died in 2021, and his ex-wife were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008. Fourniret, also called the “Monster of the Ardennes” by the media, kidnapped, raped and murdered seven young girls and women in France and Belgium. Investigators assume that the number of his victims is significantly higher. His former wife Monique Olivier helped him. The current trial involved three other cases for which the judiciary holds the couple responsible.

“I confess to all three cases that I am accused of,” Olivier surprisingly said in court. The 18 and 20 year old women disappeared in 1988 and 1990, the nine year old girl in 2003. Only the body of a British language assistant who disappeared in 1990 was later discovered. Despite inquiries from the court, Olivier did not provide any precise information about the whereabouts of the other two victims.

Citing memory lapses

Much to the annoyance and distress of relatives who appeared in court, Olivier often cited lapses in memory during the three-week trial, even when it came to details of the crime. In particular, when asked why she did not intervene before the impending murders of the abducted young women, she failed to provide a convincing answer.

The cases now being tried were the alleged third, seventh and eleventh and final murders of Fourniret and his ex-wife. The two are considered the most murderous couple in French legal history. They separated in prison. The cases were finally prosecuted after investigations by a “cold case” unit into long-ago crimes.

Fourniret's outrageous series of murders came to light when he was arrested in Belgium in June 2003 after attempting to kidnap a 13-year-old girl. Fourniret was sentenced to seven years in prison in France in the 1980s for raping underage girls, but was released after just two years.

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