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 court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.