Born in Sedan, France, on April 4, 1942, as the son of a metal worker and a homemaker, Michel Paul Fourniret was reportedly always a quiet, strange individual with an interest in solo activities. However, no one could’ve imagined that bubbling underneath the surface was a cunning, manipulative, and downright depraved serial killer, as examined in ‘Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil.’ So now, if you wish to learn more about him — with a particular focus on his past, his heinous offenses, his many victims, as well as his ultimate fate — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who Were Michel Fourniret’s Victims?
It was back when Michel was a mere child that he was allegedly sexually assaulted by his mother, which traumatized him to such a deep extent it seemingly changed his entire life trajectory. The fact he then had an experience of primal ecstasy at the age of 12 upon coming across the Blessed Virgin while riding his bike also played a role in his temptations later on, per the docuseries. After all, he became obsessed with the notion of pureness or virginity, driving him to take advantage of young girls whenever possible while admittedly leading a life of lying, thieving, and more.
The first time Michel was arrested was thus for sexual assault around the time he was 24 in 1966, only to soon find himself incarcerated for eight long years in the 1980s on other similar counts. According to the Netflix original, he actually kept a small notebook wherein he recorded each incident with the name or description of his victim, helping the prosecutors ensure his conviction. That’s how his second wife left him, and he came across Monique Pierrette Olivier through a pen pal ad he’d placed in a Roman Catholic magazine in 1987, driving the dominos to begin falling.
We state this because Michel committed his first kidnapping homicide with the help of his new partner Monique less than two months following his release from jail in October of the same year. While she helped abduct 17-year-old Isabelle Laville on December 11, 1987, he raped and strangled her to death before disposing of her body down a disused well in a North-Central France commune. Her remains were unfortunately not found until July 11, 2006, but the duo had reportedly already confessed in 2004, nearly a year after his arrest on an unrelated unsuccessful seizure attempt.
Michel’s second known victim was 30-year-old Farida Hammiche, the wife of his former cellmate Jean-Pierre Hellegouarch, who suddenly vanished following a gold loot they had planned together. He has since claimed Monique was the one to strangle her on April 12, 1988, yet most assume she was just an accomplice considering his history, especially as her body has never been found. As for his third confessed (but unconfirmed) victim, she was an 18-year-old disabled woman named Marie-Angèle Domèce — she disappeared on July 8, 1988, and has sadly never been found.
Michel’s fourth victim was 20-year-old Fabienne Leroy, who he raped before shooting her in the chest after a chance encounter on August 3, 1988; her remains were uncovered the next day. On the other hand, his fifth as well as sixth victims were 22-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramault (on March 18, 1989) and 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet (on December 20, 1989), respectively. Both these girls were horrifically strangled prior to being buried in the massive grounds of the couple’s château in Donchery, from where they were dug out on July 3, 2004, after their confessions.
Then there is the February 2018 confessed (yet unconfirmed) victim in 20-year-old Joanna Parrish on May 16/17, 1990, who was found naked, raped, beaten, and strangled the following day. 13-year-old Natacha Danais was next for Michel on November 21, 1990, though she was different since she was stabbed twice in the chest with a screwdriver, strangled to death, and then raped. Her body was found precisely where it had been left behind at a beach on November 24, 1990, only for the Fourniret family to soon relocate to Belgium, where they didn’t kill for a decade.
Michel’s ninth and ten victims were hence 18-year-old Céline Saison (May 16, 2000) as well as 13-year-old Mananya Thumpong (May 5, 2001), who m he kidnapped from France before bringing into Belgium. They faced the same fate of being assaulted prior to being strangled and brutally dumped in a forest, where they were discovered on July 22, 2000, and Match 1, 2002, respectively. It is believed the serial rapist-killer even slew 9-year-old Estelle Mouzin upon abducting her from near her Guermantes home on January 9, 2003, but her remains have regrettably never been recovered. Plus, we should mention that although this hasn’t ever been confirmed, Monique has since claimed her then partner’s victim count “greatly exceeds 30.”
How Did Michel Fourniret Die?
Despite the fact Monique as well as Michel had confessed in 2004, it wasn’t until early 2008 that they actually stood trial for their atrocities in connection to the eight confirmed murders. While the former was ultimately handed a life term with a mandatory 28 years for her accessory counts, Michel was sentenced to life without parole upon being convicted of murder counts. Therefore, he was still incarcerated at the Fresnes Prison in Val-de-Marne, South Paris, when he passed away at the age of 79 on May 10, 2021. He already had Alzheimer’s and a heart condition, but he’d been hospitalized in the facility’s care unit since April 28 with respiratory problems, which ultimately grew too complicated to return from.