Serial killer’s ex-wife Monique Olivier ‘sorry’ for student’s murder

Monique Olivier
Image caption,Monique Olivier had previously said her role was to “reassure” victims

By Steve Knibbs, Dickon Hooper & Dawn Limbu

BBC News, Paris

The ex-wife of a serial killer has apologised over the death of a British student kidnapped and murdered in 1990.

Joanna Parrish, from Gloucestershire, was 20 years old and working in France when she was abducted in Auxerre.

Monique Olivier, who is already serving a life sentence, is in court over her death, and the murder and kidnap of an 18-year-old French girl in 1988.

Olivier said she regretted not intervening in Ms Parrish’s death, saying she “deserved to live”.

Her ex-husband Michel Fourniret, who was convicted in 2008 for the murders of seven girls and young women between 1987 and 2001, died in prison in 2021.

Joanna and her parents
Image caption,The trauma of Ms Parrish’s death has remained with her parents

Ms Parrish’s parents, Roger Parrish and Pauline Murrell, were not in court to hear Olivier’s apology on Tuesday.

“I understand that it was a monstrosity what we did. It’s unforgiveable. If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t forgive,” she said at the Cour d’Assise in Paris.

“It is horrible. She was beautiful. I regret it. She didn’t deserve that. I am sorry”

Giving evidence at the trial on Monday, Mr Parrish said Ms Parrish was a “kind, conscientious and exceptional” young woman whose life was “cruelly ended by a narcissistic psychopath and his female partner”.

He said the pain has never subsided in the 33 years that have passed since his daughter’s death.

Joanna Parrish
Image caption,Joanna Parrish’s body was found in the Yonne River in France in 1990

Both crimes date back over 30 years – to 1990, with regard to the murder of Ms Parrish, and to 1988, in the case of Marie-Angele Domece who disappeared, at the age of 18, from Auxerre.

The president of the court, Didier Safar, said Monique Olivier had lied and contradicted herself, and had not always answered the questions put to her.

Olivier faces a third charge – for complicity in the 2003 disappearance of nine-year-old Estelle Mouzin, whose body has never been found.

Fourniret, who was jailed for life in 2008, confessed to the crimes in relation to Ms Parrish and Ms Domece in 2018, but died before he could face justice.

Olivier had previously told the court her role was to reassure the victims.

She said she did not know where the bodies of Ms Domece and Ms Mouzin are.

When shown a photo of Ms Domece at the court hearing, she said: “She should never have disappeared.”

Eric Mouzin
Image caption,Eric Mouzin, father of Estelle Mouzin, was in court to hear Monique Olivier on Tuesday

Estelle Mouzin’s father was present at the court. He said Tuesday’s hearing had been “tough”.

“We are in a system where it’s as if we don’t speak about real people,” he said, referring to the court proceedings.

“Didier Seban tried to bring Olivier back to her contact with people – by showing her their faces when they were alive, particularly Jo. And then to confront her with the pictures after the discovery of her body.

“We saw Olivier’s reaction – she pushed it away.”

Joanna's newspaper advert
Image caption,Ms Parrish met serial killer Fourniret after she posted an advert in a newspaper offering English lessons

Fourniret had met Ms Parrish through a newspaper advert offering English lessons. Olivier said he had “stalked” the student outside the school that she had been working in, as part of her university degree course.

She said that Fourniret had planned to imprison her for several days before killing her.

Olivier said Ms Parrish may have been taken to her and Fourniret’s house, close by in St Cyr Les Colons.

St Cyr Les Colons
Image caption,Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier lived in St Cyr Les Colons at the time of the murder

When asked about what had been said in court earlier, Didier Seban, the Parrish family lawyer, said it was “painful for the families” adding “the justice system hasn’t put [time] into these cases”.

Olivier had previously said she was afraid of Fourniret and told the court that she was “never anything more than the dog” who was obliged to “obey” him.

She said she had “done nothing wrong” before she met Fourniret.

The court previously heard how Olivier met Fourniret in 1987, whilst he was in prison for sexual violence against women.

They exchanged around 200 letters and later got married. Their son Selim was born in 1988.

The trial is expected to continue until 15 December.

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