Killer's wife says role in British student's death 'unforgivable'

Killer's wife says role in British student's death 'unforgivable'

Monique Olivier had until now been largely silent at the hearing into her role in her husband's murders
Monique Olivier had until now been largely silent at the hearing into her role in her husband's murders

PARIS - The widow of a French serial killer known as the "Ogre of the Ardennes" on Tuesday admitted she played an "unforgivable" role in the 1990 rape and murder of British student Joanna Parrish by her former husband.

Confronted with images of Parrish's swollen face after her body was pulled from the river Yonne, Monique Olivier said: "It's because of me she's gone, it's unforgivable".

She remained silent in the glass-screened dock for long moments as she looked at the pictures, before pushing them away with a trembling hand.

Olivier is on trial for her role in three kidnappings and murders by her late husband Michel Fourniret and her role in rapes and attempted rape in two of the cases.

On "hunts" with her husband, Olivier said during cross-examination: "I was the dog, I was never anything but the dog that must obey" its master.

Now aged 75 and serving a life sentence issued in 2008, her case deals with the abduction, rape and murder of 20-year-old Joanna Parrish in 1990 and 18-year-old Marie-Angele Domece in 1988.

Olivier is also charged with complicity in the disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin in 2003, whose body has never been found two decades on despite intensive searches.

Domece's remains have also never been found, while Parrish's naked body was recovered from the Yonne in the French department of the same name.

Olivier recounted how she remained in the front seat of the couple's car when Fourniret climbed into the back to kill and rape Parrish in May 1990.

"Like a coward, I do nothing, I hear her scream a little but I don't intervene. It's fear, panic, (I am) unable to do anything at all," she said.

The Parrish family had left the courtroom on Tuesday when Joanna's murder was discussed, staying away during Olivier's questioning.

"I can't manage to remember all of the details. I mix them up with other" killings, Olivier told judge Didier Safar.

Fourniret is believed to have answered a classified ad Parrish bought in a local paper offering English lessons -- hoping to earn money to visit her boyfriend in Czechoslovakia.

Parrish's family, then-boyfriend and their lawyer had on Monday pressed the idea that the young woman would never have got into a car alone with a strange man to highlight Olivier's vital role.

"I was bait," Olivier acknowledged on Tuesday.

Fourniret himself, who died in 2021 before any trial for the three killings, said of Domece and Parrish in 2018: "I am the only one responsible for their fates... If those people had not crossed my path, they would still be alive".

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