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Widow of French serial killer who preyed on virgins admits to "all the facts" at trial

The widow of a French serial killer known as the "Ogre of the Ardennes," who is on trial over her role in three murders dating back decades, said on Wednesday that she admitted to "all the facts."  

Monique Olivier's husband, Michel Fourniret, was charged with abduction, rape and murder in the cases but died in 2021 before he could be brought to trial. Fournier was accused of seeking out virgins to rape and murder over a nearly two-decade span.

The trial of his wife opened in the town of Nanterre, in the west suburbs of Paris, on Tuesday.

"I acknowledge all the facts," Olivier said on the second day of her trial. The 75-year-old, who wore the same white sweater as the day before, was briefly questioned in the afternoon.

Monique Olivier, wife of serial killer Michel Fourniret, sits in the courtroom during her trial at the assize court in Nanterre, Paris' suburb, on Nov. 28, 2023. MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

The crimes date back to 1988 in the case of Marie-Angele Domece, who disappeared at age 18 from Auxerre, and 1990 for 20-year-old British woman Joanna Parrish, whose naked body was found in the Yonne river that runs through the department of the same name in central France.

Olivier is charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping and murder of the girls.

Her third charge is for complicity in the 2003 disappearance of 9-year-old Estelle Mouzin, whose body has never been found two decades on, despite intensive searches.

The body of Domece has also never been found.

Monique Olivier, left, and her husband Michel Fourniret
Monique Olivier, left, and her husband Michel Fourniret, who were convicted of hunting for young virgins to rape and kill in crimes committed in France and Belgium from 1987 to 2003, are shown in 2008 file photos.  AP Photo

Showing little emotion, she listened to the testimony of Francis Nachbar, who was the prosecutor at the couple's first trial in 2008.

"This woman's duplicity is beyond comprehension," said the retired magistrate, recounting how he had witnessed Olivier's interrogations by Belgian investigators in 2004.

Fourniret was arrested in Belgium in 2003.

The day before, the defendant had claimed that her ex-husband had "used" her to commit his crimes, denying any "criminal pact" between them.

"I regret everything that happened," she said on Tuesday.

She has already been convicted twice of aiding and abetting some of her husband's crimes.

Olivier received a life sentence in 2008, and could face a second in the present trial.

In 2018, Olivier was given a further 20 years' jail for her part in the killing of Farida Hammiche, the wife of one of Fourniret's former cellmates.

First known victim killed in 1987

Olivier fled in the early 1980s from her violent first husband, with whom she had two children, before becoming a pen pal of Fourniret while he was serving a jail sentence for rape. They allegedly sealed a pact that she would find him virgins to rape if he would kill her then-husband — which he never did.

The BBC reported that the couple's first known victim was 17-year-old Isabelle Laville.

In 1987, Olivier pulled her van up to Laville when she was walking home from school, told the student she was lost and convinced her to get in the vehicle to help her with directions, the BBC reported. They later stopped to pick up Fourniret, who ultimately raped and murdered the teen, the BBC reported.

The Case Of Michel Fourniret And Monique Olivier: Jean-Pierre Laville, Father Of Isabelle, The First Victim Of Michel Fourniret In Mulhouse, France On March 11, 2008.
Jean-Pierre Laville, father of Isabelle, the first victim of Michel Fourniret In Mulhouse, France on March 11, 2008. Pool DEMANGE/MARCHI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

For 16 years, the couple worked together in the abduction and murder of at least eight girls and young women, the BBC reported.  They were finally stopped in 2003, when a 13-year-old girl Fourniret was trying to kidnap managed to escape, leading to his and Olivier's arrest.

The BBC reported that Fourniret's known victims were Isabelle Laville, Fabienne Leroy, Jeanne-Marie Desramault, Elisabeth Brichet, Natacha Danais, Celine Saison, Mananya Thumphong, Farida Hammiche, Marie-Angèle Domèce, Joanna Parrish and Estelle Mouzin.

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