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Tragic Joanna’s fiance: The Ogre of Ardennes murdered my first love

From David Jones

HE was ‘the first great love’ of Joanna Parrish’s life and, after graduating, they had been planning to marry.

Patrick Proctor yesterday told a Paris court how his dream of settling down with the ‘intelligent, cool, mischievous’ girl he met at Leeds University were destroyed, 33 years ago, when she was murdered by France’s most notorious serial killing couple.

Michel Fourniret, the socalled Ogre of the Ardennes, has died in jail and yesterday it was Monique Olivier, his wife and accomplice, in the dock.

It was the lovers’ desire to snatch a few days together – while Joanna, 20, was on a teaching assignment in Burgundy and Mr Proctor was studying in Czechoslovakia – that led her into the couple’s clutches.

Not wishing to ask her parents for money for the fare to Prague, Joanna offered private English lessons in Auxerre, where she was a language assistant at a high school.

The advert she placed in a local paper was seen by Fourniret, who called her saying he was looking for a tutor for his son, and arranged to meet her in the city centre in May 1990.

Had he turned up alone Mr Proctor told the court, Joanna would not have climbed into his van. But Monique Olivier was with him, and ‘ with a woman there, there would have been more trust’, he said.

The following day, Joanna’s naked body was found in the River Yonne, a few miles from Auxerre. She had been beaten, drugged, raped and strangled. Marks on her arms and traces of drugs in her body suggested she had been sedated.

Yesterday, Olivier listened impassively as Mr Proctor, now 55 and living in Hertfordshire, said: ‘It’s barely believable that a human being could do that to somebody else.’

Speaking in French, he told the court he and Joanna moved into shared digs at university, and how he twice visited her when she began her year in Auxerre. ‘You were the great love of Joanna’s life, everybody says that. For you, it was your first love,’ said the Parrish family lawyer, Didier Seban. Had they planned to marry? the lawyer asked. ‘Yes, we spoke of that. We were very young but that was part of our future.’

Earlier, Joanna’s father, Roger Parrish, 80, told how he and his then wife, Pauline Murrell, had been introduced to Mr Proctor. ‘We looked forward to welcoming him as part of our family,’ he said. ‘Never-ending devastation doesn’t come close to describing the effect Joanna’s murder had on our family.

‘The bright, beautiful and talented 20- year- old with the

‘Drugged, raped and strangled’

world at her feet was never able to have the life she wanted or deserved. Her life was cruelly ended by a narcissistic psychopath and his female partner who was an active participant in all of his crimes.’

The family have previously voiced disgust at the mistakes and apparent indifference of the French police and judiciary during the protracted investigation. Olivier admits being complicit but claims she acted under the killer’s influence. She is on trial for her part in two murders, including that of Joanna, and a kidnap.





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