‘Ogre of the Ardennes’ charged with murder of nine-year-old girl in France

A convicted French serial killer has been charged with the abduction and murder of a nine-year-old girl who disappeared in 2003, in the latest twist in a case that has gripped France.

'Ogre of the Ardennes' charged with murder of nine-year-old girl in France
Michel Fourniret is already serving a life term for the murder of seven girls and young women. Photo: AFP

Michel Fourniret, jailed for life in May 2008 for the murder of seven girls and young women, has been charged over the disappearance of Estelle Mouzin from a village east of Paris, a legal source said, after his wife came forward to contradict his alibi.

He was questioned for nearly three hours in a Paris court Wednesday by the investigative magistrate handling the Mouzin case, said the source.

He was called in nearly a week after Fourniret's ex-wife, Monique Olivier, made a statement contradicting the alibi Fourniret provided for the date of Mouzin's disappearance, January 9th, 2003.

The body of Estelle Mouzin, who disappeared while walking home from school, has never been found. Photo: AFP

His ex-wife Olivier is also serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 28 years for her role in some of the abductions and killings.

Fourniret's lawyers made no comment at the end of their client's questioning Wednesday.

Estelle Mouzin disappeared in Guermantes, 30 km east of Paris, while walking home from her school. Her body was never found.

Detectives first considered Fourniret as a suspect in the disappearance of Estelle Mouzin in 2006. They found a photo of her on his computer, and a white van like the one he drove had been spotted in the area when she disappeared.

Fourniret always maintained he had nothing to do with the disappearance of Estelle Mouzin.

No DNA evidence linking him to the case was found and he insisted that on the day she vanished he was at home at Sart-Custinne, southern Belgium, near the French border.

Last week however, his former wife told investigators that the phone call Fourniret said he made from his home on the day the child disappeared, she actually made at his request.

“That means that Michel Fourniret was not at Sart-Custinne the day of Estelle Mouzin's disappearance,” said Olivier's lawyer, Richard Delgenes.

“He was somewhere else.

Fourniret, dubbed the “Ogre of the Ardennes”, carried out the seven killings for which he has been convicted between 1987 and 2001. He confessed to the kidnap, rape and murder of his victims and his life sentence carries no possibility of parole.

He was also convicted of attacks on three young girls who managed to escape him.

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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.