CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERES, France — French serial killer Michel Fourniret, who has confessed to going "virgin hunting" with his wife, goes on trial here Thursday for the murder of seven young women and girls.
Fourniret, 65, made a pact with Monique Olivier while serving a jail sentence for sexual assault that she would find him virgins after his release if he killed her ex-husband, the court will hear in evidence.
The couple will sit behind bullet-proof glass in the dock in Charleville-Mezieres near the Belgian border to hear accusations that Fourniret raped and murdered six young women or teenage girls women in France and one in Belgium between 1987 and 2001.
Olivier, 59, is on trial for one of the same murders and complicity in four of his other crimes.
Investigators believe that in addition to the seven murders the couple have already admitted committing, Fourniret may have killed several other women.
The bespectacled former electrician, dubbed the "Ogre of the Ardennes", has admitted that he needed to go hunting for a virgin at least twice a year, prosecutors said, adding that he was obsessed with virginity.
They said the couple began their killing spree in 1987 and that it only came to an end in 2003 when a 13-year-old girl Fourniret tried to abduct in Belgium managed to escape and raise the alarm.
He was arrested and confessed to several murders after Monique Olivier, months later, spilled the beans to Belgian police.
Fourniret has served time behind bars for voyeurism and sexual assault.
It was while in prison in the late 1980s that he met Olivier when she responded to an ad he put in a newspaper for a pen pal.
According to letters seized by investigators, the couple concluded a pact: if he killed her first husband, whom she said had abused her, she would help him find young virgins so he could fulfill his fantasies.
Olivier was waiting for him when he was freed in October 1987, but he never kept his side of the promise.
The charges against them state that Olivier would play a key part in her husband's meticulously planned schemes to abduct young women.
Members of the victims' family members as well as two women who survived Fourniret's attempt to kidnap them will testify in the trial.
If convicted, the couple face life imprisonment.