The ex-wife of France’s most notorious living serial killer has accused him of raping and murdering a nine-year old school girl whose case has gripped the country for almost two decades.
Estelle Mouzin disappeared in Guermantes, 18 miles east of Paris, on January 9, 2003 while walking home from her school. Her body was never found.
Reported sightings fuelled speculation she was kidnapped and taken abroad, sparking parallels with Madeleine McCann, the British three-year-old who went missing in Portugal in 2007.
Michel Fourniret, 77, already jailed for life in May 2008 for the murder of seven girls and young women, was charged over her disappearance late last year after his wife came forward to contradict his alibi.
In March, Fourniret, dubbed the “Ogre of the Ardennes”, then made a cryptic statement to police saying he admitted that “a being is no longer there by my fault” and that the body may be in the Ardennes, northeastern France.
That sparked a search of his former properties, to no avail.
In the latest twist to the macabre case, his ex-wife Monique Olivier, serving a life sentence for complicity to murder, has now told police that he indeed kidnapped the missing schoolgirl on January 9, 2003.
She told them that he took her to his home in Ville-sur-Lumes, Ardennes to “sequester” her and then “raped and strangled” the girl, said her lawyer, Richard Delgenes.
“Investigations must now be conducted to find out where the body is,” he added.
Olivier has been charged with complicity in her disappearance.
Detectives first considered Fourniret as a suspect in 2006. They found a photo of Mouzin on his computer, and a white van like the one he drove had been spotted in the area when she disappeared.
No DNA evidence linking him to the case was found.
He long maintained he had nothing to do with the disappearance and had insisted that on the day she vanished he was at home at Sart-Custinne, southern Belgium, near the French border. But in November, his ex-wife said she made the call from his home that day, leading to the fresh developments.
Fourniret has also been charged with the murder of Briton Joanna Parrish, a 20-year-old Leeds University language student found in the River Yonne near Auxerre, Burgundy in 1990, a day after she was reported missing.
After years of denial, the serial killer finally confessed to her murder in February 2018.
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