‘Monique Olivier: Accessory To Evil’ Explained: Who Are Monique And Michel Fourniret? Where Are They Now?


Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary miniseries, “Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil,” follows the case of the most notorious serial killer in France, Michel Fourniret. Arrested in 2003, Michel Fourniret was found guilty of raping and murdering at least seven young girls and women over a period from 1987 to 2003 before being caught. However, as the name of the series suggests, the new Netflix docuseries is not focused on Fourniret but rather on his partner, both in life and in crime, Monique Olivier. Spread across five episodes, the revelations and extent of the crimes of the couple as presented in “Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil” are disturbing and deeply affecting.

What Is ‘Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil’ About?

Over a span of nearly twenty years, a number of young girls and women had gone missing from a particular stretch of the area around the Ardennes region in France and Belgium, never to be found again. None of the police departments or lawyers could get any solid result until a fateful day in 2003 when a young girl in Belgium complained to the police of an attempted kidnapping. The girl had been picked up in a white van by a couple, and she somehow managed to bravely untie herself and escape the van. This report quickly put police actions into motion, and soon enough, the couple with the van was arrested. Although the two, Michel Fourniret and Monique Olivier, did not immediately confess to anything, the grisly details that gradually came out made Fourniret the most infamous murderer in France. But there was still confusion regarding the role of his partner, Monique Olivier, both for the investigators and for the public. Was Monique just a submissive wife held hostage to her evil husband’s desires and orders? Or was there a more in-depth role that she played in the crimes of Fourniret? “Monique Olivier: Accessory to Evil” highlights this very confusion and details all the findings and court trials that have followed the case since 2003.

Who Are Monique Olivier And Michel Fournier?

From a superficial glance, or even in the eyes of their neighbors, Fourniret and Monique were not too different from any other couple. They did seem to be a sad family at times, perhaps even depressed, and some also knew that the two did not have any romance or sexual attraction left between them, but there was never anything extraordinary noticed about them. This was largely because the couple hid their real selves very neatly. In reality, Michel Fourniret was a pervert and pedophile who had already once served a long prison sentence in the 1960s when he had been found guilty of rape. It was, in fact, during his time in prison that Fourniret made a new pen friend, to whom he would regularly write letters and then gradually start to feel romantically for as well. This pen-friend was Monique Olivier, just a regular woman without any high profession or ambitions. The two eventually fell in love, and after Fourniret was released from prison in 1987, he and Monique started a relationship and started to live together. They also had a son named Selim together sometime after their relationship began.

However, it was not just their romance that blossomed; terrible criminality grew as well, for despite being punished for his earlier crimes, Michel Fourniret had no wish to change his ways. Based on reports and information gradually revealed, it was found out that Fourniret had a sick obsession with the idea of virginity, and he committed the vilest of acts against young girls out of this very obsession. All of his victims were between the ages of nine and twenty, and it was a crucial part of his screening and questioning of the victims to know whether they had had sexual encounters before. Fourniret’s modus operandi was to find girls or women by driving around places in his van, find ways to lure or pick them up in the van, and then rape and eventually murder them. To him, such activity was like going on a hunt, as he himself described in a detailed diary that he kept about the acts of his life. Even after his arrest and the following court trial, Fourniret did not really change his opinion or perspective on his actions. He remained brutal and sickly perverse in his use of words and terminologies to refer to his victims, and there was not really any sense of guilt in him. When an associate wrote to him in prison a few years after 2004, asking him to confess all his crimes and come clean, Fourniret replied with a chillingly cruel letter. Along with sentences and words for the associate, he had drawn a number of blank lines on the paper, saying that he now wanted the police to find out about his other victims and fill up the blank spaces with their names.

While the devilish persona of Michel Fourniret was never really in doubt, both in reality and in this docuseries, the same cannot be said for his partner Monique. When Fourniret was first arrested, Monique claimed herself to be just a docile and submissive housewife who had to put up with an abusive husband. Despite guns, weapons, and other suspicious items being found in their house, Monique said that she had no idea about the criminal life of her husband. It was only later that Monique, too, was arrested for questioning, and severe scrutiny of her character began. What eventually came out over the years left investigators and society shocked, for Monique knew a lot more than she was originally saying. As it turned out, Monique was a crucial associate in most of the crimes of Fourniret, almost always being present at the scene when her husband committed the disgusting acts. In fact, she would often be the one to lure the victims into their van since the young girls or women found it easier to trust another stranger woman than a man. Monique even made use of their baby to lure the victims, at times pretending to be a mother in need of assistance with a sick baby or at later times pretending to look for female tutors for her young son. It is widely believed by the investigators that Fourniret had been telling Monique about his sick desire to rape virgin girls from the very time they would communicate through letters during his imprisonment. When Monique first met Fourniret, she was already married and had two children as well. This husband of hers was extremely abusive, often physically assaulting her, due to which she had denounced her marriage as well as her children. Following this, Monique wanted Fourniret to kill her ex-husband, and in exchange, she promised to help him commit his heinous acts.

While it could be that Monique’s initial involvement in the crimes started out of this promise, this claim can be questioned to some degree since Fourniret did not actually kill the man, as far as it is known. But on the other hand, Monique kept getting more and more involved in his crimes, and soon there seemed to be a very sexual charge between the couple originating from their crimes. From the grisly details presented in the documentary, it is revealed that Monique had once performed fellatio on Fourniret right before he was about to force himself on one young girl. She also admitted that she would regularly touch their victims in order to make sure that they were virgins at the time. Based on Monique’s own account, the couple would later recreate acts of their crimes between themselves, where Monique would submit herself to the will of Fourniret, and he would rape her, too, all while remembering their act with the victims. While it was gradually quite clear that Monique Olivier was very much involved with the crimes of her partner, what became a point of contention was how willingly she had done all this. Some, including Monique’s defense lawyer, presented the possibility of her being twisted and forced into the acts by her dominating partner. Fourniret himself claimed that his partner was an unintelligent woman who did not have much of her own say or ability to make decisions. However, psychiatric and IQ tests performed on her while she was in prison showed quite contrary results. Monique had scored a remarkable 131 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale, which put her in the top 2.2% of France’s population in terms of IQ.

Since then, or perhaps from before too, a narrative of Monique Olivier being a masterful manipulator had become increasingly popular among investigators and the public. While some claimed that Monique had been exposed to a life of criminality only after she was dominated over by the evil-minded Fourniret, others pointed to the fact that Fourniret had never murdered anyone before meeting this partner of his, claiming that it was Monique who gave him the license and urge to kill. During his imprisonment from 1966 to 1987, Fourniret formed a close friendship with a man named Jean-Pierre Hellegouarch, who was a notorious gang member and bank robber. From this friend of his, Fourniret learned about the location of a pile of gold ingots and money that he had hidden before being caught. Following Fourniret’s release in 1987, Hellegouarch asked the man to help his wife out by procuring the pile for her. Perhaps knowing that the man would not be released from prison any time soon, Fourniret murdered Hellegouarch’s wife and ran off with the gold and money, even buying himself a chateau with his newfound wealth. Monique was also present during this murder, and Fourniret even supposedly claimed that it was she who had killed the wife. But the woman claimed her innocence with remarkable calmness and composure in front of the notorious criminal Hellegouarch when she said that his wife had gone missing. Hellegouarch himself admits that he had totally believed the woman, perhaps proving her prowess as a manipulator.

As can be expected in such a scenario, the societal perception of how a woman, a mother, should behave and act also came into question with arguably sexist overtones. The Netflix docuseries actually does a fairly decent job presenting this perspective as well, whether intentionally or not. There was perhaps more public outrage against Monique than against Fourniret because a woman could not be expected to have committed such evil acts. Along with that, the fact that she was also a mother and even used her child to commit crimes irked most against her. Although most of the members of the legal team involved in the case were men, women members of the team, as well as the victims’ families and the general population, were livid at Monique. Her claims that women would relate to her after hearing her story as a victim of Fourniret did not really go as planned, and Monique Olivier became the most hated woman in France at the time.

‘Monique Olivier: Accessory To Evil’ Ending: What Was The Result Of The Court Trials? Where Are Monique And Michel Now?

Following a long investigation from 2003 to 2008, the court trial began in March of 2008. Within this time, Michel Fourniret had confessed to killing eight girls and women, out of which only seven murders could be charged against him since one body could never be found. On the charge of these very seven murders, as well as rape and attempted rape, Fourniret was sentenced to life imprisonment without any chance of parole. During the investigation, while he was kept in prison, Fourniret himself helped the authorities locate the bodies of his victims where he had dumped them. Even then, he did not have any remorse or guilt for his actions. The man died in prison in 2021 of heart problems and was also suffering from Alzheimer’s at the time.

The defense lawyer for Monique Olivier always wanted the court to draw a distinction between the woman and her partner, saying that she should not be held accountable to the same degree as Fourniret. His claim was that Monique was exposed to such a life only due to her partner, and the court ultimately did draw a small distinction between the two. While Monique was also given a sentence of life imprisonment for being a crucial accomplice in many of the crimes, she was allowed to apply for parole after twenty-eight years. Following her imprisonment, Monique told a cellmate of hers about another victim of her and her husband, a case that was still unsolved by the authorities. During the time of the crime, Fourniret’s phone record placed him many miles away, but according to Monique, she was the one making the call for him in order to give him a false alibi. When the cellmate later informed the police about all this, Monique initially agreed to help them locate the girl’s body. Since Fourniret was dead by now, Monique was the only hope to find the body, but she seemed to have intentionally misled the police about the location. In the end, it does seem like not everything Monique Olivier said was true, and it is possible that the woman simply enjoyed the power to manipulate. Monique continues to live in prison and will be able to apply for parole in 2032 when she is 84 years old. Unless more incriminating evidence in some of the open cases can still be found against her and her sentence is harshened accordingly.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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