- "The couple resembled ordinary French pensioners, he with his arms folded in a professorial pose, she sucking in her cheeks like a watchful grandmother. Behind the façade, however, lay a cold-blooded sexual predator who raped and killed victims with the help of his wife and accomplice, a court was told yesterday.
As Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier sat in a glass-fronted dock on the opening day of their trial, jurors were told chilling details of the grey-haired couple alleged to be among the most horrific criminals in the history of France. Using an image of happily-married respectability, Olivier would gain the confidence of the girls and women they had identified as prey.
After they had been bound, gagged and sometimes drugged by her husband, she would examine them to check they were the virgins he desired.
She would then hand them over to Fourniret 'in the sole aim of allowing him to fulfil his fantasies,' according to a report read out in the court in Charleville-Mézières, in the Franco-Belgian border region where they once lived. He would assault his victims — 'beautiful little subjects' was how he referred to them — before shooting or strangling them, the report by investigating magistrates said.
One, a 'serious, prudent and intelligent' 20-year-old student, had air injected into her veins to provoke a heart attack, the magistrates said.
Fourniret, 65, is on trial charged with the murder of seven girls and women aged between 12 and 21 in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2001. He has confessed to the crimes.
Olivier, 59, who is charged with one count of murder and complicity in four other killings, has admitted helping her husband but has sought to minimise her role with a claim that she was in his psychological grip."
The "Ogre of the Ardennes" and his wife were expected to also stand trial in the future for other slayings in which they are suspects; this trial, though, was expected to take about two months. Fourniret apparently expected to get life in prison, but Olivier was reportedly hoping for leniency on a platform of being the manipulated wife.
Fourniret was caught in 2003, when a Belgian would-be victim, 13, broke free after being kidnapped. She reportedly told police that Fourniret bragged he was "far better" than Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux.