Serial killer ‘confesses’ to killing British student Joanna Parrish in France

A French serial killer dubbed the Ogre of the Ardennes has confessed to the murder of British student Joanna Parrish in 1990, the victim’s family’s lawyer has said.

Serial killer 'confesses' to killing British student Joanna Parrish in France
Serial killer Michel Fourniret

Michel Fourniret has finally admitted what was long suspected – that he killed the 20-year-old when the language student was on a university placement in France in 1990, lawyer Didier Seban said.

Fourniret, who is in prison for a series of other murders, also admitted to killing an 18-year-old mentally disabled woman, Marie-Ange Domece, in 1988 in the same region of Burgundy.

Her body has never been found. Ms Parrish’s naked body was found in the Yonne River near the town of Auxerre.

The killer made the confessions during fresh interrogations by investigating magistrates this week and last, the lawyer said, adding that he had been summoned to be informed of the new twist in the long-running case.

“This is the end of a very long battle,” Mr Seban told France Info radio station.

“We fought hard to prevent this case being closed,” he said.

Fourniret had been charged with the abduction and murder of the two young women in 2008 but the case was dismissed by an appeal court in 2011.

Fourniret was convicted in 2008 for the murder of seven girls and young women in France and Belgium and was sentenced to life in prison.

His wife, Monique Olivier  –  whose submissive relationship with Fourniret drew comparisons with Gloucester serial killers Fred and Rose West  –  was found guilty of one of the murders and assisting three others.

Fourniret is now likely to be tried for the murder of Ms Parrish and Domece.

Ms Parrish, who studied French and Spanish at Leeds University, was coming to the end of a year teaching English at a lycee in Auxerre when she was killed on May 17 1990.

She was abducted after placing an advertisement in a local newspaper offering English lessons.

Her body was later found in River Yonne near to where she lived. An autopsy showed that she had been raped, beaten and strangled before her body was dumped in the river.

Her parents, Roger and Pauline, were long convinced that their daughter had been murdered by Fourniret.

They attended the 2008 trial that saw him convicted of the seven murders.

The couple have been critical of the French investigation.

Reporters and police were allegedly allowed to enter the crime scene where their daughter’s body was found, possibly destroying vital evidence. DNA evidence and files went missing and police were accused of not properly following up various leads.



French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.