THE widow of a French serial killer dubbed ‘The Ogre of the Ardennes’ today went on trial accused of helping him to abduct female victims, including a British woman.
Monique Olivier, 75, appeared in court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday charged with aiding and abetting the gruesome attacks by the late Michel Fourniret.
Walking into court dressed in a grey sweatshirt, Olivier said “yes” as she confirmed her name, date of birth, and previous convictions.
Before his death in 2021, her husband was accused of murdering eight girls and young women between 1987 and 2001.
Olivier is already serving a life sentence for complicity in four of the killings and a gang rape committed by Fourniret.
She is now on trial for being an accomplice in three further murders, including that of British student Joanna Parrish.
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The naked body of 20-year-old Parrish was found in the Yonne river in Auxerre in May 1990.
Her parents, Roger Parrish and his ex-wife Pauline, Murrell have been battling for justice ever since, and are due to give evidence at the month-long trial.
Fourniret was charged with abduction, rape and murder in the cases but died aged 79, before he could be brought to trial.
His crimes date back to 1988 in the case of Marie-Angele Domece, 18, who, like Parrish, was initially reported missing from Auxerre, but whose body has never been found.
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Olivier is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and murder of both women.
The third charge is for Olivier’s complicity in the 2003 disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin, whose body has also never been found.
Witnesses in the current trial include Sabine Kheris, the investigating magistrate who recorded Fourniret's confession.
Ms Kheris is now in charge of a cold cases unit based in Nanterre, where the Hauts-de-Seine assizes court is situated.
It was packed this morning, as photographers were briefly allowed in to take pictures of Olivier in the dock.
Fourniret was dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes" after the region on the France-Belgium border where preyed on victims.
Ms Olivier's lawyer, Richard Delgenes, said his client’s "appearance in court" would set her apart from her husband.
"Unlike him, she takes no special pleasure in the pain of his victims or of the families," said Mr Delgenes.
Olivier first became a pen pal of Fourniret while he was serving a jail sentence for rape.
The two later agreed a pact that involved her helping him find virgins to rape, in return for Fourniret killing her violent first husband.
The husband killing never happened, but Oliver and Fourniret married and had a son together.
Olivier was handed a life sentence in 2008 over her role in four murders and a rape committed by Fourniret.
In 2018, Olivier was given a further 20 years inside for her part in the killing of Farida Hammiche, the wife of one of Fourniret's former cellmates.
Today’s case continues.
Fourniret died in 2021 after falling into a coma.
The 79-year-old was rushed to a secure unit at the Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris "suffering from respiratory problems".
The public prosecutor in France confirmed in May that year that the monster had died.
A source told Le Parisien newspaper at the time: "He is suffering with heart problems and mental degeneration, has been placed in a coma, and doctors consider he cannot be resuscitated."
Fourniret's spree of sexual violence dates back over 50 years, and he was jailed in the 1960s and 1980s for groping children.
Olivier, his third wife, wrote to him in jail and made a pact to help him find virgins to satisfy his sick fantasies if he murdered her first husband.
Just two months after his release, she helped him snatch 17-year-old Isabelle Laville as she walked home from school in December 1987.
She was the first of many victims who were raped, strangled and dumped by the wicked pair.
He was finally caught in 2003 when a 13-year-old girl he snatched clawed her way free and ran for help.
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