For the first time since their conviction in 2008, serial killer Michel Fourniret was brought together with his ex-wife and accomplice Monique Olivier. The meeting took place in the office of an investigating magistrate in the Yonne department in France, looking into two other murders to which Fourniret, now aged 76, has confessed. One was a mentally handicapped girl of 19, Marie-Angèle Domece, who disappeared in 1988 and whose body has never been found.
Fourniret also confessed to raping and killing an English language assistant working at a school in the area, Joanna Parrish, involvement in whose death he had until now denied.
Fourniret lived in the French Ardennes at the time, but preyed on women and girls both in France and in Belgium. Among his victims was Elisabeth Brichet, who went missing on her way to school in Saint-Servais in Namur in December 1989. Her mother, Marie-Noelle Bouzet, was one of the prime movers of the White March in Brussels, when 300,000 people took part in a demonstration against failures in the investigation into the murders committed by Marc Dutroux.
It was assumed at the time that Elisabeth had been one of Dutroux’s victim. Little did anyone suspect that another homicidal predator was active at the same time.
At trial, Fourniret was sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance of parole. His then wife, Olivier, was also given a life sentence for complicity in the crimes, and can apply for early release, but not before she has served 28 years – in other words, in 2036, when she will be 80 years old.
Meanwhile the couple’s son Selim, now aged 30, has been speaking about his life as the son of the man known as the Monster of the Ardennes, following the publication of his life story.
When the whole affair came to light, Selim disowned his parents and moved to the south of France to live under an assumed name. When asked, he tells people his parents are dead, he recounts.
In the book, written over the course of three years with journalist Oli Porri Santoro, Selim describes his childhood as “rose-tinted” and his father as “irritable, but never violent beyond a simple smack on the head”.
He also describes the occasion when he returned home from school with a disappointing report card. Outraged, his father stormed out of the house and, it would later be revealed, tried to snatch a 13-year-old girl in the Belgian town of Ciney. The attempt failed, but the investigation was a turning point, as suspicion turned to Fourniret, and his previous crimes came to light.
Selim now works as a security guard, and has met his father once only since his arrest, when he noted how small the so-called Monster is. “I owe my life to my fear of suicide,” he said. His half sister took her own life in 2006, unable, according to her mother (not Monique Olivier) to go on living with the Fourniret name.