Husband and wife sex killers jailed for life

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The Independent Online

A French husband and wife who carried out an horrific series of sex murders were jailed for life today.

Michel Fourniret, dubbed "the Ogre of the Ardennes" was convicted of the joint rape and murder of seven girls - but is thought to have been involved in many more including British student Joanna Parrish.

Fourniret ,66, stalked the women to satisfy his perverted desire to prey on virgins. Monique Olivier ,59, worked with him to allay the victims' suspicions.

Olivier, was convicted of helping in some of the killings.

The verdicts close a two-month trial that riveted France and neighbouring Belgium, where one of the victims was killed.

The young women aged 12 to 21 were either strangled, shot or stabbed with a screwdriver between 1987 and 2001.

Fourniret still faces charges in three other cases including the murder of Joanna , a 20-year-old who worked as a teaching assistant in the central French city of Auxerre.

She disappeared from the town centre during the early evening of May 16, 1990.

Her naked body was found the next morning, floating in a river five miles from the town.

Fourniret was given the maximum sentence by the jury in Charleville-Mezieres in north-east France and cannot be considered for parole for 30 years.

Olivier was convicted of complicity in four of the murders and must serve at least 28 years before she can be considered for release.

The prosecutor called Olivier "a witch," while Fourniret's court-appointed defence lawyer described him as "indefensible." Fourniret refused to be represented and remained silent through most of the proceedings.

Fourniret, who had previous convictions for rape, was finally caught in June 2003 after the bungled kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl. The girl gave authorities his registration after she managed to unbind her hands and escape from the back of Fourniret's van.

Belgium extradited Olivier to France in 2005, and Fourniret in 2006. Judicial officials in both countries decided the case should be tried in France because six of the victims were French citizens.

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