Great Britain

Michel Fourniret dead: Virginity obsessed murderer the Ogre of Ardennes who kidnapped, raped, and butchered young girls

MICHEL Fourniret's blood-soaked spree of rapes and murders only ended in 2003 when his last kidnapping victim gnawed through string binding her hands and feet, allowing her to escape his van and get help – she was 13 years old.

When cops arrested Fourniret that June, they couldn't have imagined the nightmarish horror of the crimes they were about to uncover – committed by the serial killer and peadophile rapist now known as the Ogre of the Ardennes, who died on Monday.

Fourniret, 79, passed away while serving life in prison after being admitted to hospital in Paris with respiratory problems.

He confessed to killing 12 people – mostly girls and young women who he also raped – between 1987 and 2003.

The Frenchman was helped by his third wife, Monique Olivier, who wrote to him as a pen-pal while he was in prison in the 1980s for sexually assaulting and raping minors.

In letters they made a pact – she would help him find virgins to satisfy his sick fantasies if he murdered her first husband when he got out.

Here's the horrendous story of Fourniret and Olivier's crimes – which includes the riddle of one of Europe's most infamous missing persons cases.

Decades of violence

When Fourniret was caught in 2003, cops ended a spree of sexual violence which began all the way back in the 1960s.

He first became known to police after groping a minor in 1965 and would serve three years in jail in the 1980s for a string of sexual assaults on children in the Paris area.

While imprisoned, he placed an advert in a Catholic magazine for a pen-pal – to which nurse Monique Olivier replied.

In letters, Fourniret described an obsession with virginity after suffering incestuous sexual abuse from his own mother.

He would also later claim that discovering that his first wife was not a virgin on their wedding night led him to his preoccupation with the "symbol" of virginity.

Olivier wrote to him offering a pact in which she would help him hunt for virgins if he would kill her first husband when he got out.

In October 1987, they met at the prison gates when he was freed – Fourniret never kept his side of the deal, but Olivier kept hers.

Within months of his release, the couple began a frenzy of virgin hunting abductions, rapes and murders which lasted nearly 20 years.

Killing for cash and sadistic pleasure

Their first victim became a grim template for how they would operate.

In December 1987, Olivier spotted 17-year-old Isabelle Laville walking home from school.

Olivier asked her for directions and persuaded Laville to get in the car.

Down the road, they picked up Fourniret posing as a hitchhiker after his car ran out of petrol.

In the vehicle, Fourniret "grabbed her by the hair and asked her was she a virgin, and she replied in the affirmative’’, according to The Herald Sun.

Fourniret strangled Laville with rope before Olivier drugged her with Rohypnol to sedate her.

They took Laville to their house in Saint-Cyr-les-Colons where Fourniret raped and strangled Laville to death.

Her remains were found at the bottom of a disused well in 2006.

Their second killing was slightly different from the others.

Farida Hammiche, 30, was the wife of a bank robber Fourniret had shared a prison cell with – she contacted him asking for his help digging up a stash of gold bars buried in a graveyard in March 1988.

He agreed to help and Hammiche paid him for the job, but a month later Fourniret strangled her to death and took the haul for himself.

Fourniret and Olivier bought a stunning castle called the Château du Sautou in northern France with their newfound fortune.

Hammiche's body was never found.

Explosion of bloodlust

Their killing then became insatiable over the next few years.

While heavily pregnant with Fourniret's baby, Olivier lured 20-year-old Fabienne Leroy from a supermarket into her car feigning illness and pretending to need directions to a doctor's surgery.

They drove her to a forest, where Leroy was tied up, raped, and shot dead with a shotgun.

Olivier said she'd checked Leroy was a virgin before the killing on Fourniret's orders, but later said she didn't go through with it.

Jeanne-Marie Desramault, 21, met the killer couple on a train in 1989 as she was travelling to stay in a convent – Fourniret reportedly found her like a vision of the Virgin Mary.

Desramault was invited to their house to babysit but, when Fourniret asked her if she was a virgin after she arrived, he flew into a rage when she said no.

The couple gagged and strangled her to death before burying her in the grounds of the Château du Sautou.

Police would also find the body of 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet near Desramault in the soil years later.

Fourniret and Olivier abducted Brichet as she was walking home from a friend's house in Belgium.

After attempting to suffocate her with a plastic bag, Fourniret strangled her to death, storing her body in a freezer before burying her in the castle grounds.

A year later, they lured 13-year-old Natacha Danais into their van after they spotting her walking home from a shop to fetch her mum's forgotten purse.

They stabbed her in the chest with a screwdriver, strangled her, and dumped her body on a beach.

At trial, it was suggested that Fourniret raped her after she was dead.

Danais was the last murder they carried out together.

In 2000, Fourniret raped and murdered 18-year-old Céline Saison before abducting, raping and murdering 13-year-old Mananya Thumpong a year later.

Saison's body was found by mushroom foragers a few months after her death, while Thumpong's body was mostly eaten by wild animals by the time was discovered in the woods almost a year later.

Brought to justice

Fourniret's stomach-turning reign of terror came to a dramatic end in 2003 when his tried and tested method of kidnapping finally went wrong.

He lured a 13-year-old Belgian girl into his van and tied her up, sexually assaulted her, and threatened to kill her.

But when the van stopped the girl broke free of her restraints and got out the vehicle – a passing motorist picked her up and managed to jot down Fourniret's licence plate.

He was soon in custody and the victim's hair found in his van.

Olivier turned on her husband in a bid to avoid a lengthy sentence herself and claimed she'd been the victim of a controlling psychopath.

Realising he was doomed, Fourniret cooperated with police and confessed to many of the crimes, even showing investigators where some of his victims were buried.

In 2006, one of his daughters from a previous marriage tragically took her own life after her father's horrific acts became known.

At trial in 2008, Fourniret was convicted of seven murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Olivier was also given a minimum of 28 years for her complicity in the killings.

The sickening testimony at trial included Fourniret saying he'd made Saison and Thumpong say: "Would you make love with me, monsieur?" and "Thank you, monsieur," during their ordeal – phrases which Olivier admitted using herself to excite him during sex.

Fourniret and Olivier divorced while in prison in 2010.

Dad can 'only feel terror'

But that wasn't the end of the story – with Fourniret making more explosive confessions in recent years.

In 2018, he admitted responsibility for the 1990 murder of Joanna Parrish, a Leeds University student from Gloucestershire who was raped and murdered while working at a school in Burgundy as part of her French degree.

And he also confessed to killing Marie-Angèle Domèce, an 18-year-old disabled woman, two years earlier.

And in 2020, one of France's most high-profile missing persons cases focused on the Ogre of the Ardennes.

Nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin didn't come home from school in Guermantes in France in 2003, and a national search for her was launched.

And when Fourniret was arrested in Belgium later in the year, he was suspected to be involved – but a phone call from his home at the time of Mouzin's disappearance gave him an alibi.

The case went unsolved for nearly 17 years until Olivier admitted in 2020 she'd made the phone call that discounted Fourniret from the investigation.

And Fourniret also personally confessed to being involved with Mouzin's disappearance.

Last month, cops used diggers to search for Mouzin's body in the forests of Ardennes after Olivier gave authorities new information about the whereabouts of her remains.

And earlier this year Mouzin's father, Eric, slammed a TV film about his daughter's killers, The Times reports.

"These criminals of the worst sort are becoming fictional characters,” Mouzin said.

He added he could “only feel the terror of Estelle when she found herself in Fourniret’s van”.

Archive footage shows the trial of serial killer Michel Fourniret, the Ogre of Ardennes

Football news:

Ukraine failed with Austria: skidded on standards and under pressure, the leaders did not show themselves
Some Bundesliga clubs will turn on rainbow lights in their stadiums during the Germany - Hungary match
The oldest Euro stadium is in Glasgow. The gloomy area, the uncut grass around, the insides from the 90s-and the roar of the stands in 115 decibels
City believe it will be difficult to sign Kane this summer. Citizens are ready to wait a year
Mount and Chilwell are isolated for a week and will not play against the Czech Republic. They were in contact with Gilmore who was infected with the coronavirus
PSG is ready to pay Inter for Hakimi up to 75 million euros, including bonuses. The clubs are close to an agreement
Ramos has offers from PSG, Manchester United and City. Defender would prefer to move to a Ligue 1 club rather than the Premier League