A former French police officer’s suicide note contained claims that he had been a serial killer.
The man, named as François V, by French media, claimed that he was ‘the pockmarked man’ and murderer known as Le Grêlé. The man was labelled ‘pockmarked’ due to having facial blemishes.
The former police officer was found dead at a seaside resort near Montpellier, after having been called in for questioning in connection with the case.
The suspect was reported by Le Parisien as being 59 years old and having worked for the gendarmerie, which is the force that is linked to the French military.
His claims have yet to be confirmed, and tests are currently being run to prove whether the deceased man truly was the serial killer, The Times reported.
The crimes committed by the serial killer took place in Paris in the 1980s and 1990s. The murderer was never discovered, however, and police were subsequently at a loose end for decades.
One of the serial killer’s victims was Cécile Bloch, an schoolgirl who was just 11 years old. In 1986, she didn’t show up to the school she attended in a town south of Paris called Fontainbleau, and so was reported missing by her parents.
She was later found in the basement of her family’s apartment building under a carpet, after the guard of the block was alerted by her parents. Bloch had been strangled, stabbed and raped.
Her half-brother, Luc Richard, aided police in creating a sketch of the suspect, having passed a man in the lift who he thought was strange. According to Richard, the man had skin covered in small, protruding scars. In 2015, he told Sud Ouest newspaper of the conversation that occurred between them.
He seemed very sure of himself. He spoke to me in a very bold, very polite way, too.
He said something to me like, ‘Have a very, very good day.’
Bloch’s parents died before the former French police officer’s supposed confession was found and Richard said that as long as the case was unsolved he would ‘manage to live’, but have a ‘great feeling of injustice’.
It is only in recent years that light has been shed on the case. Around 10 years after Bloch’s murder, genetic evidence linked her case to six other rapes and two other killings.
The serial killer, Le Grêlé, was subsequently linked to the deaths of a 19-year-old student named Karine Leroy, German au pair Irmgard Müller, aged 21, and Gilles Politi, a 38-year-old who had worked for Air France as a mechanic. Müller had been an au pair for Politi’s family.
Leroy disappeared in 1994 on her way to school and her body was found around a month later alongside a woodland located in Montceaux-lès-Meaux.
In April 1987, Politi and Müller were found at the family home which was located in Paris, in the 4th arrondissement. They had both had their wrists tied and Müller had her throat cut. According to local reports at the time, they had been ‘brutal[ly] torture[d]’ prior to their death.
The attacker had reportedly identified himself as a police officer during at least three different sexual assault attacks. Two had been on girls who were underage.
Despite suspicions that the serial killer was a police officer, Le Parisien reported that investigators on the case thought that the claim had just been a manipulation tactic.
However, new evidence suggested that Le Grêlé was indeed in the security forces, which led to a turning point in the investigation to track him down.
In his suicide note, the former police officer, who was found dead on the beach, claimed that he had been ‘not well in life’ when he conducted the killings.
Neighbours of the man were stunned by the apparent confession in the note. They commented on how he had been unassuming and had led a quite life.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.
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