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.
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.
An ex French police officer and gendarme who committed suicide on Weds night is believed to be a serial killer and rapist detectives have been hunting since the 1980s. DNA traces link him to 4 murders and 6 rapes. One suspected victim was just 11.https://t.co/haGVrJDEdN
— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) September 30, 2021
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.
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