Police officer 'confesses to being serial killer' in suicide note

·3-min read

A retired police officer has been formally identified as a notorious Paris serial killer and rapist known as Le Grêlé, the “pockmarked man”, after reportedly confessing to crimes in his suicide note.

In a major breakthrough, cold case investigators have used DNA evidence to link François Vérove to a spate of murders and rapes around the city in the 1980s and 1990s, in which he used his police card, handcuffs and professional restraint techniques against young women and girls.

The 59-year-old, who eluded police for more than three decades, took his own life this week in a rented apartment in the south of France after being called in for questioning as part of a review of the case.

A police sketch of French serial killer Le Grêlé, also known as the “pockmarked man”.
A retired police officer has been identified as the serial killer behind a spate of murders and rapes in and around Paris in the 1980s and 1990s. Source: Twitter

In a statement, the state prosecutor said there had been "elements" leading cold-case investigators to focus on someone "who had been working as a gendarme" at the time of the crimes.

Vérove was among hundreds of former military officers who had been summoned for interviews as the search for the killer narrowed.

Details of cold-case killer's suicide note

Following his death, the prosecutor confirmed his DNA matched several crime scenes.

Vérove, who had worked as a police officer and a gendarme, had left a note saying he had not been in a good state at the time of his crimes, but had later “sorted himself out”.

An 11-year-old girl was among his victims, who he is believed to have stopped in the elevator of her building as she left for school in 1986. 

A pair of police officers with the word
Vérove was among more than 750 military officers who had been called for interviews as part of a major cold case review. Source: Getty Images

Another victim was a 26-year-old German au pair, who was assaulted and murdered in a Paris apartment.

His last-known crime happened near a gendarmerie training centre.

Didier Seban, a lawyer for victims’ families, is calling for investigations to continue.

“We are going to ask the justice system to continue investigating, to know if he had accomplices and to determine the number of victims. The families must have answers,” he told France Info.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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