Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Michel Paul Fourniret, dubbed as the Ogre of the Ardennes, is a French serial killer known for targeting young women from 1987 to 2003. He confessed to killing nine people, eight females and one male, after his wife, Monique Pierrette Olivier, exposed him. Aside from the murders, Fourniret also confessed to kidnapping and raping his victims. His wife surprisingly also played a role in some of his gruesome crimes.
Fourniret was arrested in June 2003 after a failed kidnapping of a girl in Ciney.
The Twisted Past of Michel Fourniret
Michael Fourniret was born in France on April 4, 1942. Not much is known about his childhood, but Fourniret shared a disturbing fact during his early years. According to him, he had multiple sexual experiences with his own mother as a young man. The alleged incestuous abuse caused trauma, which eventually led him to commit crimes against women.
Since the age of 24, Fourniret has been imprisoned numerous times.
Michel Fourniret Meets Monique Olivier
While serving time in prison for 15 counts of sexual assault against minors, Fourniret placed ads in a publication for Roman Catholics, seeking out pen pals. Olivier answered the ad and became deeply involved with Fourniret, gaining knowledge of the man’s darkest secrets and fantasy. Fourniret was also not afraid to share his desire to go “virgin hunting” once he got out of prison.
After Fourniret’s release in 1987, Olivier agreed to help him realize his sexual fantasies in one condition: he had to murder her first husband. It is believed that Olivier, a mother of two, suffered in the hands of her abusive husband. However, Fourniret never got to kill Olivier’s husband. Despite the broken promise, Olivier still fulfilled her part of the deal.
The Murders Begin
Within months of his release from prison, Fourniret murdered 17-year-old Isabelle Laville. Fourniret and Olivier drove, in separate vehicles, to Auxerre. There, they saw and immediately targeted Laville, who was walking home from school. Olivier stopped to ask the schoolgirl to enter the vehicle to lead her in an unfamiliar direction. Laville agreed.
Olivier drove to a spot, where Fourniret was waiting to be picked up. After getting inside the vehicle Fourniret choked Laville with a piece of rope. Then, Olivier sedated the victim with Rohypnol.
The couple brought Laville to their home in Saint-Cyr-les-Colons, where Fourniret raped and strangled her. Fourniret then threw Laville’s body down a well in Bussy-en-Othe.
His second victim was 30-year-old Farida Hammiche, the wife of a Gang des postiches (a gang of bank robbers) member. Hammiche’s death was different from the couple’s victims, for they had another motive. Fourniret and Olivier stole a haul from Hammiche, consisting of gold ingots and coins. The couple then strangled Hammiche, whose remains were never found.
Fulfillment of Fourniret’s Dark Fantasies
Following the deaths of Laville and Hammiche, many more women suffered unfortunate fates after getting the attention of Fourniret. Here’s a list of the known victims of Fourniret’s desires:
• Fabienne Leroy – a 20-year-old woman who crossed paths with Olivier in the car park of a supermarket. Once again, the couple asked her to join them in their car and give them directions. Fourniret ordered Olivier to look at Leroy’s hymen to see if it was still intact, but Olivier refused. She disappeared in 1988 in Châlons-en-Champagne, and her body was later found in the nearby woods. Reportedly, she was killed by a shot to the heart.
• Jeanne-Marie Desramault – a 22-year-old French student. In 1989, the couple invited her over for dinner after meeting on the evening train to Charleville-Mézières. Fourniret then asked her if she was still a virgin. After discovering that she had a boyfriend and that she was no longer a virgin, Fourniret killed her. Her body was recovered from the estate of Fourniret with his assistance.
• Elisabeth Brichet – a 12-year-old Belgian girl. She disappeared from Namur in 1989 after playing with a friend. The couple then pretended to ask for directions and the girl agreed to help. Her disappearance was long thought to be at the hands of Marc Dutroux until Fourniret led police to her burial site on his estate in France.
• Natacha Danais – a 13-year-old French girl, disappeared in November 1990 in Nantes, western France whilst out shopping with her mother. Her body was found a few days later on a local beach. Autopsies suggested that the girl had been raped post-mortem. Olivier also claimed that this was the last murder committed with her help.
The Fourniret family moved to Sart-Custinne, Gedinne, Belgium, in the early 1990s. Fourniret stopped his murders for nine and a half years before the disappearance of Céline Saison in Charleville-Mézières.
• Céline Saison – 18-year-old who disappeared in 2000. Fourniret drove alone across the Franco-Belgian border to Charleville-Mézières, where he blackmailed Saison into having sex with him. Her body was found in Belgium.
• Mananya Thumpong – 13-year-old who disappeared in 2001 from Sedan. Fourniret went back to his birthplace and invited the young girl to his house. Thumpong suffered the same fate as his previous victims. Her body was also later found in Belgium.
The Arrest of Michel Fourniret
On June 26, 2003, Fourniret was arrested at his home in Sart-Custinne, Belgium after a failed attempt to kidnap a 13-year-old girl. A year after his arrest, Olivier told the police everything, including her part in the killings. This led Fourniret to confess to killing eight women and an unidentified man.
Police later arrested Olivier, who was offered a lighter sentence in exchange for her cooperation.
The trial took place in Charleville-Mézières between March 27 and May 28, 2008. The jury found Fourniret guilty of the murders of all seven of the victims whose bodies had been found. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Olivier was also sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 28 years for complicity. The couple was also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros in moral compensation to family members of the victims.
In February 2018, Fourniret confessed to killing 20-year-old Englishwoman Joanna Parrish, who was also raped and strangled. Two years later, in March 2020, Fourniret confessed to killing Estelle Mouzin, who has been missing from Guermantes since 2003. In August 2020, his now ex-wife, Monique Olivier, confirmed Mouzin’s death and cooperated with the search for the schoolgirl’s body.
After the disclosure, Olivier was charged with complicity.
Legacy of Michel Fourniret
The disturbing crimes of Fourniret led to the establishment of a sex offender registry.
Where is Michel Fourniret Now?
Although already imprisoned for his crimes, Michel Fourniret is still under investigation for police believe that he is responsible for more unsolved crimes. Now 78-years-old, Fourniret will die in jail paying for his sins.
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